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Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Pigmented lesions

A congenital nevus is a pigmented lesion consisting of pigment and nevus cells, which is present on the skin at birth or shortly after. The colour of congenital nevi ranges from light brown to black. The size varies from small, medium, to large, which may involve the trunk area (bathing trunk nevus) or the limbs. Increased hair growth is commonly associated with these lesions.

The Plastic Surgery Team at SickKids are interested in congenital nevi for two reasons:

  1. There is a small risk (2-6%, probably less) of an associated melanoma. This may arise both from the congenital nevus and from the newly recognized finding of neurocutaneous melanosis.
  2. For cosmetic purposes. Depending on the location and extent this can pose an enormous therapeutic challenge.

If your doctor feels that you or your child may benefit from seeing the plastic surgery team about a pigmented lesion, we will be happy to see you.

If possible, surgical removal is helpful in removing most of the malignant potential and may afford an excellent cosmetic result. Various surgical techniques can be used to excise (cut out) and close the defects of pigmented lesions.

Tissue expansion is one method where the skin can be stretched to fill the defect from the pigmented lesion.

Laser Therapy is not currently suggested for the treatment of these lesions.