Bumps & Spots – Fairfax and Northern Virginia
Being a new parent has its challenges. When your child is born with a skin problem, it is hard to know what to treat and what to leave alone. Dr. Jespersen approaches all Fairfax and Northern Virginia pediatric patients and their parents with the sensitivity needed for these delicate procedures and difficult decisions. Her surgical expertise and compassion provide you and your child with the advice and care that you need to make the best choice.
What Congenital Skin Conditions Do You Treat?
Congenital conditions are present at birth and many get larger or more severe over time. Although each child develops differently and parents’ views on whether to perform plastic surgery vary widely, some skin disorders should be treated early to prevent them from worsening.
Here are some common skin problems that Fairfax and Northern Virginia pediatric patients come in for:
- Congenital Nevus (Nevi of Infancy) is a common skin condition found in about 1% of infants. This spot is often found on a child’s head or neck and varies in size from small (less than 2 cm) to giant(greater than 60% of the body). Most small nevi remain under 2 cm and never require surgical intervention, but larger growths often create unwanted attention for children and even have a very small risk of producing a melanoma over time.
- Port Wine Stain starts off as a deep pink mark, usually on a child’s face, neck, arms or legs. Though barely noticeable at first, this skin condition can darken as your child grows older and become noticeably thicker. This should not be confused with “stork bite” and “angel kiss” nevi which are red blotchy areas at the base of the neck and between the eyes that fade and resolve with time. (Usually they are gone by the child’s third birthday).
- Infantile Hemangioma, also known as a strawberry mark, is usually not immediately visible at birth. A few weeks after birth you may start to see a small red bump that develops into a darker and larger spot by the time your child is six months old. They undergo active growth for approximately one year and then regress, but they do not always disappear without a trace. They can grow quite large. The vast majority of them are flat and will go away without major sequelae. However, if they are bulky and interfere with the baby’s ability to see or are obstructing normal growth of structures in the area, they need to be attended to. In addition, bulky ones tend to leave behind excess tissue and skin which can be disfiguring. They can be treated with medication or surgical removal.
- Dermoid Cysts are usually found on the brow region and are cysts that arise from the bone. They are generally harmless, but can impact facial appearance if they grow. Most can be removed through an incision in the eyelid skin that becomes nearly invisible over time. They rarely recur.
- Vascular Malformations are groups of blood vessels that grow abnormally. They may not be visible at birth, but grow as your child gets older and can become very large if not treated early. Unlike hemangiomas, these do not grow smaller over time and early treatment is important. It is very rare for them to be “cured” or totally removed, but frequently they can be managed to minimize their impact on appearance and lifestyle. There are many different types – so if you are dealing with one, it is important to learn what type you have and the specific features and treatment options.
Specialized Treatment for Children
While pediatric plastic surgery may involve similar procedures to adult, children require a very different approach. Dr. Jespersen accounts for your child’s rapidly changing physical and psychological development, and integrates this into the treatment plan.
Fairfax and Northern Virginia parents are advised about the progression of certain problems and whether or not early intervention can save your child embarrassment or more serious surgical procedures in the future.
Laser Treatment for Bumps and Spots
When caught early, some skin conditions such as strawberry mark (infantile hemangioma) and port wine stain can be treated with lasers. This procedure is safe enough to be performed on infants. A typical laser treatment will:
- Cause minimal pain: Afterward it feels similar to a mild or moderate sunburn.
- Requires limited anesthesia: Very small areas can be treated without anesthetic, but most children with significant birthmarks will require a very brief general anesthetic for laser treatment.
- Heals relatively quickly: After treatment, your child will experience some swelling and bruising around the area. It usually takes only 7-10 days for healing.
Because laser treatment is effective and leaves little to no scarring, it is a good treatment modality for children.
Surgical Treatment for Bumps and Spots
Certain bumps and skin conditions require corrective surgery to fix the problem. Dr. Jespersen will meet with you and your child to determine a treatment plan. In the consultation Dr. Jespersen will:
- Evaluate the area: Because some skin conditions do not require surgery or can go through different stages of growth, Dr. Jespersen will examine your child and advise whether surgery is the right option.
- Validate your child’s concern: Children (and parents!) need to feel heard when they express their opinions. Your child’s skin condition is no exception and Dr. Jespersen listens to your child, and then explains things to you both so that everyone understands treatment options.
- Review options: Sometimes it’s wiser to wait until children are older to undergo surgery. Dr. Jespersen gives you options and outcomes for immediate surgery as well as for waiting.
Reasons for Childhood Treatment
For many skin disorders, childhood treatment can prevent more serious problems as your child develops. Though the majority of these problems are benign and removed for a child’s psychological wellbeing, taking care of a skin condition in childhood means that it will not worsen or cause problems in adulthood.
For more information on removing your child’s bumps and spots, call our office in the Fairfax and Northern area at (703) 992-7969.