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Contributors: Chrislene Olukoga MD, Susan Burgin MD
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A sebaceoma is a benign tumor that originates from sebaceous glands. It commonly appears as a small, smooth papule with a yellowish, speckled appearance. Sebaceomas are usually asymptomatic and slow growing; they can occasionally ulcerate and bleed.

These tumors are most frequently observed on the head and neck, where sebaceous glands are abundant, especially the central face and scalp, but they can rarely appear in other areas of the body with hair. The precise incidence of sebaceoma is unknown, and there is no established race / ethnicity or sex preference. They tend to develop more commonly after age 50, with an average onset around 60 years, although younger individuals can also be affected.

Sebaceomas can arise either as primary tumors or within existing nevus sebaceus. While they are benign and typically do not exhibit aggressive growth or metastasis potential, there have been around 5 reported cases of transformation into sebaceous carcinoma.

The presence of a sebaceoma may raise concerns due to its association with Muir-Torre syndrome (MTS). This syndrome is a variant of Lynch syndrome and is characterized by underlying visceral malignancies, primarily affecting the gastrointestinal tract, along with sebaceous neoplasms and keratoacanthomas.


D23.9 – Other benign neoplasm of skin, unspecified

403933005 – Sebaceoma

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Sebaceous gland hyperplasia
  • Sebaceous adenoma – Exhibits clinical and dermatoscopic similarities to sebaceoma; however, the main distinguishing factor lies in the histologic examination. Sebaceous adenoma appears more organized, featuring a greater number of mature sebocytes and containing less than 50% basaloid component. Basaloid cells are typically found at the periphery of lobules, while sebaceous cells with intracytoplasmic lipid vacuoles are primarily located at the center of lobules. This histologic pattern helps differentiate sebaceous adenoma from sebaceoma.
  • Sebaceous carcinoma
  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Nevus sebaceus
  • Sebocrine adenoma
  • Trichoblastoma
  • Panfolliculoma – rare, benign follicular tumor with advanced differentiation to include all components of the hair follicle.
  • Apocrine poroma with sebaceous differentiation

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      Last Reviewed:07/15/2023
      Last Updated:07/23/2023
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      A medical illustration showing key findings of Sebaceoma
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