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Birthmarks and Other Skin Pigmentation Problems (cont.)

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What are the characteristics of vascular birthmarks?

The color of vascular birthmarks ranges from light pink to dark purple, and they can be either flat or elevated. Their size is quite variable, as well. Certain types of vascular birthmarks can evolve and change after birth.

What causes birthmarks?

Most birthmarks are probably due to defective migration of cells during fetal development. Once these cells start to multiply, they produce tissue with the characteristics of their cell type though they are not located where those cells typically are.

Are any symptoms and signs associated with birthmarks?

Pigmented birthmarks, aside from their coloration, cause no symptoms. Vascular birthmarks of certain types can produce significant symptoms. The identification of the type of vascular birthmarks may be difficult and require certain advanced imaging techniques as well pathological examination of samples of the birthmark. Certain vascular birthmarks called hemangiomas can begin as flat lesions at birth but enlarge rapidly during the first few months of life. They often then ulcerate and disappear slowly, leaving only a scar. If this type of lesion is situated adjacent to an important anatomical structure like an eye or mouth, it may need to be treated to hasten the natural resolution. Birthmarks composed of mast cells can produce a hive over their surface if they are rubbed.

What disorders are associated with birthmarks?

There are a number of serious disorders that are associated with both pigmented (café au lait mark, for example) and vascular birthmarks. Fortunately, they all are extremely rare. It would be appropriate that any infant with a birthmark is examined by a pediatrician to detect any of these uncommon conditions. Some of these disorders can be inherited, so affected families need to be educated as to their significance.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/30/2013

Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/birthmarks_and_other_skin_pigmentation_problems/article.htm

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