“My son was made fun of and scorned by other children because of his physical appearance to the point that cried at home and hid behind me in public.” –JM’s mom
6 year old patient with a small, but complex congenital melanocytic nevus of the nose.
This size birthmark does not carry a high risk of cancer. After puberty the risk of melanoma does increase slightly compared to people without pigmented birthmarks. Many dermatologists recommend that this type of mole be removed at a time when a child is old enough to tolerate a short procedure under local anesthesia. That typically occurs between ages 9-12. However, in JM’s situation, the mole did not just pose a slightly increased risk of cancer, it had a very real impact on his daily social interactions.
In cases such as these, when we know we will eventually want or need to remove a birthmark or mole, waiting for early adolescence is very challenging. The surgery to remove this type of mole requires two surgeries over the course of 4 months. The first surgery removed over 90% of the nevus. Once the initial scar healed and the surrounding skin stretched into position, a second surgery removed the small remaining nevus and allowed the scar to be optimally positioned for healing.
“The change in his physical appearance made a change in the way my son felt about himself. He became less shy and more willing to risk making new friends. Because he was less afraid of what people would say about the way he looked, he actually became more himself- not the self marked by physical imperfection. Through a physical surgery, Dr. Dickie not only transformed the outside of my child- but the inside, too, based on how he felt about himself.” –JM’s mom
4 months after initial surgery to remove most of the nevus.
3 months after final surgery to remove the nevus.
4 year old patient with intermediate sized nevus of chin and cheek. Underwent serial (2-stage) excision. Shown pre-op, 4 months after first surgery and 6 months after second and final surgery.