Congenital Pediatric Nevi, What Are They and What Do I Do?
As a family-friendly dermatologist, we know how worrisome it can be for new parents to discover that their child has a skin condition. The concern can be even greater when you notice a new blemish or mole on your infant’s skin. The appearance of a mole, or nevus, on babies is common and their appearance does not typically indicate poor health or a major cause for concern.
Congenital nevi generally appear from birth to one year of age. The nevus can appear anywhere on the body as a raised or flat mole and the size can vary from small to quite large. The color of the mole can range from skin-color to dark brown. In rare instances, the nevus can measure eight or more inches in width. You can be assured that congenital nevi generally impose no risk to your child’s health, however, larger nevi do run a greater risk of becoming cancerous later in life.
To put your mind at ease, let’s take a look at your options for caring for your child’s congenital nevus.
What is the risk?
A congenital nevus is a non-cancerous growths on your baby’s skin. While the appearance of such a growth can be alarming, there is no need to worry. Your dermatologist will examine the growth and balance the risk of removal against the possibility that the growth will cause problems later in life.
Because large nevi tend to pose more of a potential problem, and because a larger nevus will grow with the child, your dermatologist may consider removal at an early age. However, most of the nevi we see on infants in Volusia County only require monitoring.
Is removal the best option?
Although the procedure for removing a congenital nevi is relatively simple, we only recommend removal if the growth poses a high risk (by being overly large in diameter) or is in a location that will pose a problem for your child as he or she grows.
Removal involves a simple surgical incision to remove the affected tissue and the insertion of a few stitches. Typically this procedure will leave nothing more than a small scar. As a dermatologist for the whole family, we encourage our patients to always balance the risk of performing any cosmetic or surgical procedure.
The bottom line.
Your family dermatologist may recommend removal if the nevus changes in shape or form, or if it causes emotional distress as your child grows.
The important thing to remember is that these growths are almost never malignant, nor are they genetic. There is a low probability that these growths will become cancerous with age, but it is prudent to have your child’s nevus continuously monitored, throughout their life, for changes that may indicate cancer.
As a dermatologist in Florida, we are familiar with all forms of skin cancer prevention and care. We know that your child’s health and well-being are of utmost importance to you and your family. While skin conditions like pediatric nevi can look alarming to the concerned parent, know that you have little cause for immediate worry and know that you will be well-informed when seeking the advice of a qualified family skin-care specialist.
Are your and your family participating in regular skin screenings?