Mole Removal Surgery

Mole Removal Surgery
 
 

A birthmark is a colored mark that is clearly visible on the skin. Most birthmarks fall into one of the two categories: pigmented or vascular. Pigmented birthmarks are usually brown in color and are caused by clusters of pigment cells. Vascular birthmarks are usually red, pink or purple and are caused by abnormal blood vessels. Within these categories, there are various types of birthmark and these will be examined in more detail in the following sections.

Vascular birthmarks

A vascular birthmark occurs because there is a overload of blood vessels in or underneath the skin. It tends to be present at birth or become evident not long afterwards. Their color is determined by the affected blood vessels. If it is a deep blood vessel that proves problematic, the resulting birthmark will be blue. If it is a surface blood vessel that is affected, the birthmark will be pink, red or purple.

Haemangiomas are the most common type of vascular birthmark and can be identified by their raised appearance, which is often red in color. Strawberry birthmarks are a well-known example. In the beginning, haemangiomas tend to be flat and small but can become more severe over time. They commonly grow at their quickest in the months after they first appear before slowing down. Most haemangiomas stop growing after a year and then start to fade over the following years but this won’t always be the case. Ninety per cent of haemangiomas will have disappeared before the age of nine but others will require specialist treatment.

Vascular malformations are the other main type of vascular birthmark. They are made up of small blood vessels, veins or a combination of veins and arteries. Two common examples of a vascular malformation are salmon patches (light pink patches that are also known as stork marks) and port wine stains. Salmon patches tend to go away within a few months of the birth (unless they are on the back of the neck), whereas port wine stains are often permanent and may even become more pronounced further down the line, especially during the hormonal changes associated with puberty, pregnancy and the menopause. Laser treatments can fade port wine stains but as the effects will only be temporary, continuous treatment is needed.

Pigmented birthmarks

A pigmented birthmark is caused by a group of pigment cells and is usually brown in color. Pigmented birthmarks include cafe-au-lait spots (coffee-colored patches on the skin), congenital melanocytic naevi (CMN) (large brown or black moles) and Mongolian spots (blue-grey birthmarks that closely resemble bruises). CMN birthmarks are present from birth but often decrease in size and severity over time. If a CMN changes size, shape or appearance, a biopsy may be recommended to ensure that it hasn’t developed into skin cancer. This risk isn’t very high but a larger CMN makes it more likely. Mongolian spots can affect those with darker skin tones and are also present from birth. They have often faded by the age of four but they pose no health risks if they persist beyond this age.

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