A juvenile xanthogranuloma (zan tho grahn you LOH mah), or JXG, is a benign skin lump or bump caused by a collection of cells called histiocytes. These may be red, orange or tan at first, but over time may become more yellow in color. These bumps usually appear on the head, neck and trunk. Sometimes they can appear in the eyes or in mucous membranes such as the mouth.
JXGs are seen mainly in infants and young children, but these can also develop later in life. JXGs are usually not bothersome or itchy. Rarely, they may become crusty.
The bumps are not contagious (not passed from person to person). The exact cause of this condition is not known.
A doctor may diagnose the JXG during a physical exam. A JXG can look very similar to other skin conditions. Therefore, a biopsy may be done. This means one of the bumps (or a piece of one) is removed from your child’s skin to be looked at under a microscope. This will help to confirm the diagnosis.
JXGs on the skin do not usually cause other problems. These usually go away by themselves over several years without any treatment. After the bumps are gone, your child may have a scar or skin color change where the JXG was.
Normally your child’s doctor will simply watch these over time. It is not necessary to remove JXGs. A dermatologist should check your child’s skin regularly over time.
If your child has multiple JXGs, additional tests may be done. Sometimes when there is more than one JXG, one can occur in the eye. If this is the case, your child will need to go to an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) for further evaluation. Your child’s dermatologist will discuss this and other testing with you if necessary.
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