Birthmarks – pigmented

Alternative Names

Nevus sebaceous; Hairy nevus; Nevi; Mole; Cafe-au-lait spots; Congenital nevus

Definition of Birthmarks – pigmented

A birthmark is a skin marking that is present at birth. Birthmarks include cafe-au-lait spots, moles, and mongolian spots.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Cafe-au-lait spots may occur in people with the genetic disorder, neurofibromatosis.

Symptoms

Each type of birthmark has its own appearance:

Signs and tests

Diagnosis is usually made based on the appearance of the skin area. A biopsy may be performed to look for cancerous changes.

Treatment

Treatment varies depending on the type of birthmark and related conditions. Usually no treatment is needed for the birthmark itself.

Expectations (prognosis)

Large moles that are present at birth (congenital nevi) are more likely to become skin cancer (malignant melanoma). This is especially true if the mole covers an area larger than the size of a fist. The cancer risk is related to the size, location, shape, and color of the mole.

Review

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 10/8/2010

Mongolian blue spots
Skin layers

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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