Birthmarks and Dermatologists

18 Jan

As a few of you probably know, we had an appointment with the pediatric dermatologist a couple weeks ago.  When Clara was born, there was a little birthmark on her head, just above her right ear, that was super bright red, kinda bumpy, and had no hair.  As a cosmetic issue, I don’t really care.  Her hair will cover it up eventually, and the redness has faded a bit.  But the texture of it was just a little weird, so I asked about it at her 2 month appointment.  The pediatrician told us that it is probably just a birthmark, but there’s the possibility that it could be something that a dermatologist would want to keep an eye on, so she referred us to a pediatric dermatologist.

Just after New Years, we headed over to Chapel Hill to see him.

On a quick sidenote, it was an interesting experience because we had a resident come in to check her out first.  Since my sister is in medical school and will start doing her clinical rotations soon, and in 2 years will be off doing her very own residency.  He was really great, very professional and personable.

Anyway, basically the short of it is this:  The little spot is called nevus sebaceous.  Let me just offer this little bit of advice – don’t google it.  Some of the pictures are really kinda gross.  Clara’s little spot is pretty mild, I think, it looks nothing like those pictures.

The doctor said that it’s mainly a cosmetic issue.  It’s a birthmark that basically is an overgrowth of cells, and they don’t know why it happens.  But there is the chance that it could develop into a type of cancer later in her life if we don’t do anything.  He recommended that it be removed before she is 2 years old.  The advantages to doing it early in life are that it will heal better, she’s less likely to mess with it, and once it is excised, there’s no further cancer risk.  She’ll just trade her little birthmark for a smaller scar.  The disadvantage is that she will have to have general anesthesia for the procedure.  And that is the part that scares me the most.  I know she will probably be fine, but there’s something a little unnerving about putting a little baby under for surgery.  I have friends whose children have had surgeries and been just fine.  I have full confidence in the doctors.  It’s just one of those things as a mom that you never want to have to do.

The dermatologist said that this is what he would do for his kid.  That, to me, means quite a bit.  It won’t happen until she’s about a year old or so, and we’ll have another appointment to discuss more specifics about the procedure, ask more questions, and set a date for the surgery in a couple months.

I have to tell you, it’s the risk of cancer that pretty much made the decision for me.  We do have some family history of cancer, so the ability to remove that risk from her, at least this specific risk, is compelling.

So that’s that.  I’ll keep you updated when we know more about when the procedure will happen.

Clara is beautiful and perfect.  10 fingers.  10 toes.  Infectious smile.  Hilarious giggle.  Skinny little chicken legs.  Ginormous head.  She’s quirky.  She’s ours.  And that makes her perfect in my book.

Thanks for reading, friends.  

One Response to “Birthmarks and Dermatologists”

  1. Ginny January 18, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    Adorable picture. Good decision to me it sounds like! Seriously, I cannot wait to meet her!

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