M.D. asks from Eaton, OH on September 14, 2009
Any Advice/thoughts/info About Having Birthmark (Flat Mole) Removed on 5 Year Ol
I'm really looking for any help/advice on a very important decision my husband and I have to make. Our 5 yeard old son has a large birthmark on his neck. It is about 2 1/2 inches, the doctors call it a flat mole. His regular doctor was concerned about the chance of him developing melanoma at the site and refered us to a plastic surgeon. We meet with the plastic surgeon at Cincinnati's Children's Hopsital this morning, he didn't talk very long, but said yes he could remove it and looked at us and asked when we wanted to schedule it! We then started asking questions. He said there is a 1 in 1000 chance of melenoma developing at the site.He said the peditrician would likely keep telling us to have it removed since they see so many children and would have seen cases where melanoma developed. He then said it would be reasonable to take it off or reasonable to do nothing, but continue to watch it. IF the procedure is done it would take 2 surgeries and my son would have to be put out with general ansthesisa both times. My husband and I don't know what to do. Anyone who has been through anything like this or has any helpful info I woudl greatly apprecite it.!
D.G. answers from Columbus on September 15, 2009
For safety sake I would have it removed before he gets any older, Little boys are so active to start with and the surgery would be harder for him if he was much older.This way his new skin where it is removed will have plenty of time to grow with him and there should not be much of a scare. My sister had to have one removed from her panty line near her waist as it kept getting sore from the waist line in her under pants. She has no scare at all from that now and she healed up in only a week or so.
L.G. answers from Terre Haute on September 17, 2009
As far as the risk of cancer goes you can gauge that over time by watching it to see if it changes in shape size or color. If it has stayed the same and the plastic surgeon (who is usually the type of doctor that assesses moles for cancer) does not seem to be concerned then don't feel you need to rush into surgery right away.
The only other reason to have it removed at this time that I can see is if it is unsightly and is something that makes your son unhappy with his appearance. If it doesn't bother him at this time leave it alone and know that you can always have it removed later when the idea of anethsethia isn't so scary.
A.N. answers from Columbus on September 15, 2009
Hey M.! Obviously it is up to you, as parents, as to what you do at this point. If it is a terribly worrisome mole to you, then I'd recommend getting it removed now because there is something to be said for peace of mind. However, my recommendation (professional and personal as a parent) would be to take a good digital photo of the mole so that you can track it by taking a look at it every couple of months. If the mole changes shape or coloration, I'd recommend getting it removed at that point. The actual size of the mole should change as it will get bigger with your son's growth. If it were all of the sudden to grow larger, out of proportion with his growth, I'd recommend removal also. The risk of melanoma for children under the age of 18, especially with no family history, is very low (~2% of all melanomas).
If sometime down the road you choose to have the mole removed when your son is older and can understand the procedure (often tween-early teen years), the mole can be removed with just local anesthesia and can be done either by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
Hope that helps! Good luck!
C.F. answers from Columbus on September 15, 2009
They will eventually remove it. My son had a flat mole watched from age 7 to 14. We had to go to a dermatologist yearly to have it checked. They just waited until he was older. So 7 extra dr visits (and copays). I would schedule it during a break from school since it isn't an emergency. My son's mole was on his leg - and it did continue to get bigger. I would think it would minimize scarring if you have it removed at a younger age. If you wait until summer, he won't be able to go swimming for 2 weeks.
C.E. answers from Cincinnati on September 15, 2009
When I was 3 (25 yrs ago) the pediatrician recommended to my mom to have my birth mark on my back removed for the same reason. I was younger than you son, but still remember it. I had to stay in the hospital and dealt with it fine. However, it was 25 yrs ago and the plastic surgeon did a HORRIBLE job. There are still traces of my birth mark, and my scar goes all the way across my back since it stretched as I got bigger. Of course I can't see it and forget it is there until someone asks....I usually make up a story at first :) Overall though it was painless and an easy procedure. Good luck in your decision.
S.C. answers from Indianapolis on September 15, 2009
have you considered an Esthetician? My sister has spots removed all of the time by one, she uses a laser. It's painless and your son would probably think that it's pretty cool. I would check into it before having a surgeon do it. I just had a spot removed off of my face by my dermatologist and she said that she is glad that I went to her and not a surgeon. She said that surgeons go too deep and wind up with more scaring than anything else.
K.P. answers from Fort Wayne on September 15, 2009
Hi M. and Hubby, first of all I am very happy to see that your little one is in preschool. When I had our kids pre school I thought was silly and then my grandchildren came along and I see how much good it has done for them. Next if it were me I would have the mole removed because any time cancer is mentioned I think it is best to just take care of the situation before it has a chance to materialize or grow and if it is when he is much older I think it would be more tramatic for him. Good Luck in what ever you decide.
K.V. answers from Columbus on September 15, 2009
A friend of mine went through a similar process. Her son's was on his face. They did a wonderful job and her son who is now 17 has no scare at all. Make sure you to someone that does alot of these surgeries. She had her son's removed at Columbus Childrens. Another thing to keep in mind is kids are cruel and this can be a source for other kids to pick on your son. They did the surgery on an outpatient basis. Good Luck.