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Hidrocystoma is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Clinical Consult.

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  • Hidrocystomas, also known as cystadenomas or sudoriferous cysts, are rare, benign cystic growths of sweat glands (1).
  • Typically present as solitary nodules, but multiple hidrocystomas do occur.
  • Most commonly found on the face, predominantly the eyelid (glands of Moll); may also occur on forehead or cheeks; occasionally found on scalp, ears, chest, shoulders, axillae, external genitalia, and feet
  • Can be of apocrine or eccrine in origin. The term “ductal hidrocystoma” is a neutral diagnostic term in reference to both kinds (1).
  • Eccrine hidrocystomas are further subdivided into “Robinson-type” (multiple eccrine hidrocystomas) or “Smith-type” (solitary eccrine hidrocystomas) (1).
  • Can differentiate apocrine from eccrine hidrocystoma both clinically and histopathologically (2)


  • Eccrine and apocrine hidrocystomas affect adults between 30 and 70 years of age; apocrine hidrocystomas can occur in childhood and adolescence (1).
  • Solitary eccrine hidrocystomas are equally prevalent among males and females.
  • Multiple eccrine hidrocystomas affect females more than males (1).

Prevalence is unknown. However, hidrocystomas account for ~1/1,000 submitted cutaneous biopsies (2).

Etiology and Pathophysiology

Obstruction of the apocrine or eccrine sweat gland following an inflammatory process, trauma, or poral closure (3):

  • Multiple eccrine hidrocystomas may be caused or worsened by hot and humid environments, worsening in summer months and improving in cooler weather.
  • Etiology of single eccrine hidrocystomas, or single or multiple hidrocystomas, is unknown.
  • Schöpf-Schulz-Passarge, an inherited autosomal recessive condition, is characterized by multiple apocrine eyelid hidrocystomas along with ectodermal dysplasia, causing palmar hyperkeratosis, hypodontia, and hypotrichosis (1).
  • Goltz-Gorlin (Jessner-Cole syndrome), a sporadic or X-linked dominant syndrome most often occurring in females, is characterized by microcephaly; midfacial hypoplasia; malformed ears; microphthalmia; periocular multiple hidrocystomas; papillomas of the lip, tongue, anus, and axilla; skeletal abnormalities; and mental retardation (1)

Risk Factors

Multiple eccrine hidrocystomas may be caused or worsened by exposure to hot, humid environments.

Commonly Associated Conditions

  • Associated with Schöpf-Schulz-Passarge syndrome and Goltz-Gorlin syndrome (rare)
  • Multiple eccrine hidrocystomas have been associated with Graves disease (rare).
  • Multiple eccrine hidrocystomas have been associated with Parkinson disease (rare).

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Stephens, Mark B., et al., editors. "Hidrocystoma." 5-Minute Clinical Consult, 27th ed., Wolters Kluwer, 2019. Medicine Central, im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/816212/all/Hidrocystoma.
Hidrocystoma. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, et al, eds. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. 27th ed. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/816212/all/Hidrocystoma. Accessed April 19, 2019.
Hidrocystoma. (2019). In Stephens, M. B., Golding, J., Baldor, R. A., & Domino, F. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Available from https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/816212/all/Hidrocystoma
Hidrocystoma [Internet]. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, Domino FJ, editors. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. [cited 2019 April 19]. Available from: https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/816212/all/Hidrocystoma.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Hidrocystoma ID - 816212 ED - Stephens,Mark B, ED - Golding,Jeremy, ED - Baldor,Robert A, ED - Domino,Frank J, BT - 5-Minute Clinical Consult, Updating UR - https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/816212/all/Hidrocystoma PB - Wolters Kluwer ET - 27 DB - Medicine Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -