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DERMATOSCOPY OF BIRTHMARKS

Preventive dermatoscopy examination will allow analysis and detection of dangerous marks on your skin. Early oncology prevention can potentially save a patients life.  

 

The term “birthmark” denotes various skin manifestations and growths that are in the form of a spot. node, moles and marks of different colours and sizes. They may be flat or protruding, pigmented or unpigmented, but the most important definition with respect to our health is the categorisation into either benign or malignant skin formations.

By observing the changes in our skin, we can potentially identify the imminent risk at an early stage. This involves checking for changes, which takes only a few minutes of the patient’s time, this can reveal questionable changes to skin formations that can enhance the expert’s examination.

We offer professional dermatological examination of skin pigmentation and the removal of potentially dangerous marks with an emphasis on histological examination.  

 

DERMATOSCOPY

With the rapidly increasing trend of skin tumours, more attention should be paid to preventing them from occurring. It is possible to cure the skin cancer if it diagnosed early enough. The dermatoscope is an invaluable aid in assessing possible skin sign changes – attach a dermatoscopy photo

EXAMINATION

The dermatoscope is applied to the pigment formation. This device is an essential aid for the  dermatologist in evaluating the state of the pigment formation. The result is evaluated in a few minutes using the ABCD method. (asymmetry, boundary, colour, diameter). The examination lasts approximately 15 minutes.

 

WHAT CHANGES ARE WE LOOKING FOR?

“ABCDE” RULES TO HELP YOU

5 pravidiel, ktoré Vám pomôžu – pozorujte zmeny na svojej koži

Rule A (asymmetric)

Pigment marks and birth marks are usually round and symmetrical. Birthmarks that can be potentially dangerous are, often, asymmetrical.

Rule B (bordering)

Birthmarks have a clear and sharp border, whereas a suspect birthmark would tend to be uneven.

Rule C (colour)

Pigment marks and birth marks are usually an even colour either light brown or dark brown. However, when there is uneven pigmentation on your skin this can be a possible signal of the presence of melanoma.

Rule D (diameter)

Harmless birth marks are usually smaller in size (up to 5mm), by comparison the diameter of melanoma is typically more than 5 mm.

Rule E Genetic propensity to develop melanoma

 

HOW TO CARRY OUT THE SKIN CHECKS

  1. Firstly, lift your arms up in front of a mirror and look at your torso from the front and the sides.
  2. Next check your forearm, front and back of your arms and palms of your hands.
  3. The third step should be a look at the back of legs, the area between toes, the bottom of feet and your genitals.
  4. Use a small mirror to thoroughly check the back of your neck and skin on your head.
  5. To finish don’t forget to check any marks on the lower back and bottom.

If you feel something is not right, do not hesitate to seek advice. Here at CHIRKOZ SK we will examine your birthmarks and are able to give appropriate advice. If removal is the agreed best course of action, then we can either remove them surgically or with laser treatment.

 

HOW OFTEN SHOULD BIRTHMARKS BE EXAMINED

WHY DO WE NEED TO CHECK THE BIRTHMARKS?

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Pigment spots and birthmarks are a common part of our skin. Sometimes they are too large, are aesthetically unappealing, in which case they can be easily removed with surgery. However, it is highly recommended that you visit a dermatologist with any concerns.

 

Frequently asked questions and answers – birthmarks.

  1. How do I know my birthmark is abnormal?

Answer: From birth to adulthood the body develops approximately 50 brown pigmented marks. Sometimes they are in the places which are potentially rubbed regularly by natural friction, with these we generally recommend removal. We should realise we have birthmarks and monitor them. When we see changes using the ABCDE definitions it’s important to seek medical advice at the earliest opportunity.

  1. What diagnoses can this suggest?

Answer: The difficulty with pigment marks can be that aside from their change there is often nothing else that would indicate something is wrong. Thus, this home diagnosis is vital to allow patients to seek medical advice sooner rather than later

  1. What is home self-diagnosis?

Answer: Paying close attention to your body and asking a friend, family member or loved ones to check birthmarks on your back.

  1. What Methods and technologies are used in diagnostics in our dermatology clinic?

Answer: To assist with dermatological examination we now have a device – a dermatoscope, which offers a much higher resolution of the area under investigation. If there is still doubt, it’s possible to send the image for consultation or remove it whole and seek a histological examination.

  1. What problems can occur with birthmarks? What is the treatment?

Answer: Pigmented birthmarks – may change colour, a white border without colour may appear around it, they can become itchy, grow or bleed. In this case we would probably recommend surgical treatment which would mean the removing of a birthmark followed by a histological examination. Subsequent examination will allow doctor to know if it was fully removed, supported by the outcome of the histological examination.

  1. Which birthmarks are recommended for removal, and which should be left alone and monitored?

Answer: One superstition says birthmarks should potentially not be removed as they will become malignant. This view is often apparent when the patient finally seeks medical advice but by then the symptoms can have developed significantly. Any birthmarks marked by the doctor as suspicious should be removed. If this procedure is not followed, then there is the risk of subsequent complications. Only birthmarks that have signs that suggest they are malignant are suitable for being monitored.

  1. Are there cases where removal is not recommended?

Answer: It is not recommended to remove birth marks for cosmetic reasons where the scar after removal would be worse than previously. Areas where unaesthetically pleasing scars may form is above the sternum, and on the back, shoulders and thighs. We don’t recommend removal of birthmarks for cosmetic reasons in patients that have tendencies to form keloid scars.

  1. Can some chronic diseases such as diabetes, allergies, clotting problems, prevent having birthmarks removed? Why? What can happen to the patient?

Answer: Apart from blood clotting issues, allergy to anaesthetics or being prone to serious infectious diseases, there are relatively few risks associated with birthmark removal.

  1. What examination must patient undergo prior to treatment?

Answer: In most cases it’s a simple outpatient procedure and therefore a pre operation examination is not necessary.

  1. What is the actual procedure, which methods are most common here, which are used in the world? Are there new techniques?  What are pros and cons for individual methods.

Answer: Prior to the actual procedure taking place, the doctor will perform an initial examination where he or she will learn about the medical history and condition of the patient. They will agree with the patient the most suitable method and what outcome can be expected. If it’s a cosmetic procedure they will also discuss and agree the potential cost. The generally recognised procedure is surgical removal followed by histological analysis in all cases.

  1. What is post operation treatment like?

Answer: During the examination the patient will learn about the post-operative care. Wounds tend to heal in 7-10 days, after this time stitches are removed. Until then good hygiene should be maintained to reduce the risk of infection and unnecessary future scarring.

  1. What time of the year is most suitable for birthmark removal and why?

Answer: In acute cases, it is not possible to wait for the most suitable season and these are removed as soon as possible. In aesthetic cases, it is advised to avoid hot summer days which present a higher risk of wound infection.

  1. Are there non-invasive methods of birth mark removal?

Answer: No. The only alternative is to perhaps cover it with make-up.

  1. What is the difference between different birthmarks, and how can non experts distinguish them?

Answer: Using the ABCDE method birthmarks with a variety of shades of brown, itchiness, tendency to bleed, or with uneven pigment should be referred to a dermatological outpatient clinic at the earliest opportunity.

  1. What can trigger the dermatological condition in pregnancy, that can present itself with colour change or bordering around birthmark? What diagnoses is it?

Answer: During pregnancy, the body produces an increased volume of hormones, one of these stimulates pigment growth. This can lead to darkening of the skin, pigment marks and nipples. Similar conditions may occur in pituitary tumours.

  1. What is the treatment?

Answer: We don’t treat this condition, at the end of pregnancy skin returns to its original shade. In case of a tumour, this needs to be removed surgically.

  1. Is there an inherited genetic predisposition to malignant skin disease?

Answer: Yes, there are some families with increased occurrence. This is connected to reparations at cell level. If they are completely absent, some children can die at a young age from multiple skin tumours. However, it is fortunate that this is an extremely rare outcome. In general, we can assume the lighter the skin the greater the risk. Redheads, blue-eyed and light-skinned individuals are potentially at the higher end of the risk spectrum. The more often the skin is burnt, especially in young children, the greater the risk of developing a malignant melanoma skin cancer. However, skin can also be affected by subtle forms of sunbathing, the use of sunbeds, or at retirement age, in these cases there is higher percentage of possible malignant skin tumours. They tend to manifest themselves as wounds on the body that do not heal, mainly in parts of the body that were exposed to sunlight. There is only one recognised effective treatment which is to surgically remove the lesion as soon as possible.

  1. What do you think about old wife’s remedies to remove warts, pigment lightening and so on?

Answer: We recommend removing birth marks that are in areas where they are prone to rubbing by natural rubbing. Lightening of the affected area is not recommended and is believed to be highly irresponsible.

5 ABCDE rules to help you – watch your skin change

  1. Rule A (asymmetric)

Pigment marks and birth marks are usually round and symmetrical. Birthmarks that can be potentially dangerous are, often, asymmetrical.

  1. Rule B (bordering)

Birthmarks have a clear and sharp border, whereas a suspect birthmark would tend to be uneven.

  1. Rule C (colour)

Pigment marks and birth marks are usually an even colour either light brown or dark brown. However, when there is uneven pigmentation on your skin this can be a possible signal of the presence of melanoma.

  1. Rule D (diameter)

Harmless birth marks are usually smaller in size (up to 5mm), by comparison the diameter of melanoma is typically more than 5 mm.

  1. Rule E Genetic propensity to develop melanoma

If you feel that some of your birthmarks have started to change shape, size or colour, visit your doctor as soon as possible.

Remember to self-examine your skin

  1. Firstly, lift your arms up in front of a mirror and look at your torso from the front and the sides.
  2. Next check your forearm, front and back of your arms and palms of your hands.
  3. The third step should be a look at the back of legs, the area between toes, the bottom of feet and your genitals.
  4. Use a small mirror to thoroughly check the back of your neck and skin on your head.
  5. To finish don’t forget to check any marks on the lower back and bottom.

In case of any doubts, contact your doctor!