Birthmark

From Academic Kids

A birthmark, is a blemish on the skin formed before birth. They are part of the group of skin lesions known as naevi. The cause of birthmarks is unknown, but may include cellular damage due to radiation or chemicals. Some types seem to run in families.

In Italian and Middle Eastern cultures they're called voglie (wishes) in Italian or wiham (wishes) in Arabic, because they are believed, in popular wisdom, to be caused by unsatisfied wishes of the mother during pregnancy. For example, if a pregnant woman has a sudden wish for strawberries, it's believed that not satisfying it could give the infant a strawberry mark.

A number of different birthmarks are known. They include Stork bite mark, Mongolian blue spot, Strawberry mark, Cafe au lait spot, Congenital melanocytic naevus, and Port wine stain

Contents

'Stork bite' mark

Also known as 
Salmon patch or Telangiectatic naevus.
Colour 
Pink.
Shape 
Irregular and flat.
Texture 
Like unaffected skin.
Size 
Location 
Neck, forehead or top-lip.
Frequency 
Nearly half of newborns have a stork bite.
Prognosis 
Most fade by the end of the first year. There are no known health problems.
Treatment 
None.

Mongolian blue spots

Also known as 
Blue bum.
Colour 
Bluish, bruise-like.
Shape 
Irregular and flat.
Texture 
Like unaffected skin.
Size 
About ten centimetres across.
Location 
Lower back and bottom.
Frequency 
Most common in darker skinned people, especially noticeable in East Asian people.
Prognosis 
May not appear until sometime after birth, but gradually fade. No health problems, but they have been mistaken for abuse bruises by over-zealous social workers or medical staff.
Treatment 
None.

Strawberry mark

Also known as 
Capillary haemangioma.
Colour 
Red.
Shape 
Raised and lumpy.
Texture 
Size 
Location 
Can appear anywhere on the body.
Frequency 
One in twenty births.
Prognosis 
The mark usually appears between one and four weeks, it can then grow rapidly, before stopping and slowly fading. Sixty percent of marks have vanished by five years, and ninety percent have gone by age ten.
Treatment 
Surgery or laser treatment is not generally recommended, unless the mark is blocking vision or breathing, because of the risk of scarring.


Caf au lait spots

Also known as 
Colour 
Light brown, milk coffee colour.
Shape 
Oval.
Texture 
Size 
Location 
Can appear anywhere on the body.
Frequency 
Having one or two spots is common.
Prognosis 
There are no health problems associated with one or two spots, although three or more can be an indicator of neurofibromatosis. The spots do not fade with age.
Treatment 
Cosmetic


Congenital melanocytic naevus

Also known as 
Colour 
light brown (in fair skinned people) to almost black (in darker skinned people).
Shape 
Irregular, small marks usually flat, large ones can be raised and lumpy.
Texture 
Sometimes hairy.
Size 
From under a centimeter to over 30 centimeters.
Location 
Can appear anywhere on the body
Frequency 
About one in a hundred births.
Prognosis 
Some, but not all, studies have suggested a cancer risk is associated with large marks. Some marks are associated with a build up of melanin in the spinal cord, a condition called neurocutaneous melanosis. Naevi close to the eye are associated with glaucoma. Large visible marks can have a psychological impact.
Treatment 
Surgical removal is an option, but will usually lead to scarring. The marks should be watched as sudden changes can be a sign of cancer.

Port wine stain

Also known as
Naevus Flammus
Colour 
Pale pink at birth, becoming darker with age to a deep wine red.
Shape 
Irregular.
Texture 
Can become lumpy with age.
Size 
Usually large, more than ten centimeters across.
Location 
Often on the face
Frequency 
Three in one thousand births.
Prognosis 
The mark does not fade. Marks around the eye are associated with glaucoma. There can be a psychological impact.
Treatment 
Laser treatment is usually effective.

See also

he:סימן לידה

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