Birthmark

From ArticleWorld


A birthmark is a lesion on the skin that is formed in the womb and is present at the time of birth. Many are completely normal and result in no problems. Others, however, can grow and become problematic. Their cause is unknown.

Types

Some birthmarks are what are called “stork bites” or telangiectatic nevi. They occur on the forehead or at the nape of the neck and are flat and pink in color. They are extremely common, occurring in nearly half of all newborns. Most fade by the age of one year.

Mongolian spots are bluish, bruise-like spots that form on the back and buttocks in dark-skinned or East Asian infants. They fade over time and are not harmful; however, they can be confused with bruises and parents have been accused of child abuse because they were misidentified.

Strawberry marks are also called capillary hemangiomas. They can appear anywhere on the body and are raised and red in color. They can grow rapidly in infancy but generally recede after early childhood. Forty percent do not fade and may need to be treated surgically or via laser treatments.

Café au lait spots are brownish oval-shaped spots that occur anywhere on the body. They are generally normal; however the presence of three or more can be an indication that the person has a condition known as neurofibromatosis. The spots are common and do not fade with time. A similar spot is called an “ash leaf macule” and is like a café au lait spot with the exception that it has no pigment. It does not regain pigment with time and grows with the infant to the size of about an inch or two.

A congenital melanocytic nevus is also called a hairy nevus. It is light brown to almost black in color and can be irregular or smooth in shape, raised or lumpy and up to 30 cm in diameter. It can occur anywhere on the body in up to one in a hundred births. Some studies suggest that these are at risk for malignant transformation later in life. For this reason, surgical excision is recommended.

A port wine stain is also called a nevus flammus and is pale pink at birth but becomes a deep wine color as the child ages. They are irregular in shape and generally large, with a diameter of up to 10 centimeters. They occur in 0.3% of births and do not fade with time. Port wine stains are often on the face and are cosmetically unacceptable to most. Laser treatment can often reduce or eliminate these lesions. If the marks are around the eye, they are often related to the development of glaucoma.