Most people have a birthmark or two… or three. These marks on the skin in varying shapes, sizes and colors are apparent from birth or soon after. The causes of birthmarks are still not fully understood, but most are harmless and may even fade away as a child gets older. There are cases, however, where a birthmark can pose a risk to a patient and it needs to be removed. Additionally, some people choose to have a birthmark removed for cosmetic reasons.
Moles, café au late spots, salmon patches, hemangiomas (strawberry marks), and port wine stains are common types of birthmarks. In cases where a birthmark is dangerous or can cause a great deal of emotional discomfort due to its appearance, a parent may decide to have his or her child treated. There are numerous kinds of birthmarks and associated risks. Only a doctor will be able to determine if and when a birthmark needs to be removed.
Birthmark Complications and Treatment
The following are a few problems that have been associated with certain birthmarks:
- Infantile Hemangiomas (also known as strawberry marks) that develop around critical structures, like the eye, nose, ears, etc. may require early treatment to avoid complications with the development of vision, hearing, breathing, etc. Infantile hemangiomas may grow rapidly in infancy and can become infected. In any of these cases treatment will be beneficial and may consist of a safe oral medication.
- Babies with port wine stain birthmarks around the eye can be associated with glaucoma.
- Some types of moles, like melanocytic congenital nevi, posses the ability to develop into malignant melanoma and should be carefully evaluated and monitored.
- Multiple café au late birthmarks have been linked to neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder in which tumors grow on nerve tissue. Very large spots are also of concern.
Not all birthmarks can or should be treated. A skilled dermatologist can help predict how a birthmark will develop and any dangers it may or may not pose. If it is determined that a birthmark needs to be treated, a course of action will be determined based on its location and severity. Options for treatment may include medications (creams or pills/syrups), lasers, or surgical removal.
The best way to determine if a birthmark poses a medical risk or is the sign of an underlying condition is to see a dermatologist. ASC is conveniently located near Atlanta, Georgia, with locations in Greensboro and Roswell. Contact Aesthetic Specialty Centre Plastic Surgery & Dermatology today at (770) 393-9000 in Roswell or (706) 467-6500 in Greensboro today.
*The information about Birthmarks was reviewed by Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Marc E. Yune. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us using our contact form below.