Many birthmarks found on newborn babies are not a cause for concern. New mothers and fathers who are not familiar with birthmarks may be alarmed to see one or more reddish patches of skin on their baby. These small marks are more formally, or medically, called nevus simplex. They are a harmless form of congenital birthmark that typically goes away with time. Historically, these marks have been known as Stork Bites.
What is a Stork Bite?
Almost everyone has heard the fable of how a stork delivers a newborn baby to its assigned family. These marks get their slang name from where a stork’s beak could have left a mark from carrying the baby. Since they commonly appear on the back of the neck, or the eyelids, upper lip, between the eyebrows or on the forehead, it’s easy to imagine the picture and see the connection.
Oddly enough, stork bites on the back of the neck are the ones that can persist and require treatment for removal. The others usually vanish by age three without any medical therapy.
Stork bites, or nevi simplex, are caused by small groupings of blood vessels that are close to the surface of the skin, making them visible. They are not painful and cause no other symptoms outside the reddish coloration. Most never grow beyond a fingernail in size, but larger ones are not unknown.
Kinder traditions call stork bites “angel kisses” and they are sometimes called “salmon patches” because of their color. Other, more ancient traditions, believed the baby had been marked by a demon and was under some sort of curse if nevi simplex were present.
If your newborn has one or more of these nevi, your specialist at the Vascular Birthmark Institute can diagnose them and alleviate any worries you have about complications or problems.
Can Persistent Nevi Simplex be Treated?
Occasionally, a persistent nevi simplex will not fade with time, such as the ones located on the back of the neck. If the mark persists into the teens or into adulthood, the person may want it removed for cosmetic / aesthetic concerns. Modern laser treatments can remove a nevi simplex mark with just a few sessions. The laser seals up the tiny blood vessels, causing them to collapse and be reabsorbed by the body. This is similar to treatment for varicose veins, only simpler.
More rare, larger nevi may require surgical removal and skin grafting to completely eradicate. A dermatologist or skin specialist can recommend the best treatment option for a large nevi that causes the patient cosmetic concerns.
Other types of birthmarks can present differing levels of problems that parents should bring to the Vascular Birthmark Institute for diagnosis and treatment. Our talented and skilled specialists treat some of the most complex birthmark-related conditions in the world right here in New York. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a consultation with one of our specialists.