Optimal management of common acquired melanocytic nevi (moles): current perspectives
Kabir Sardana, Payal Chakravarty, Khushbu Goel
Department of Dermatology and STD, Maulana Azad Medical College and Lok Nayak Hospital, New Delhi, Delhi, India
Abstract: Although common acquired melanocytic nevi are largely benign, they are probably one of the most common indications for cosmetic surgery encountered by dermatologists. With recent advances, noninvasive tools can largely determine the potential for malignancy, although they cannot supplant histology. Although surgical shave excision with its myriad modifications has been in vogue for decades, the lack of an adequate histological sample, the largely blind nature of the procedure, and the possibility of recurrence are persisting issues. Pigment-specific lasers were initially used in the Q-switched mode, which was based on the thermal relaxation time of the melanocyte (size 7 µm; 1 µsec), which is not the primary target in melanocytic nevus. The cluster of nevus cells (100 µm) probably lends itself to treatment with a millisecond laser rather than a nanosecond laser. Thus, normal mode pigment-specific lasers and pulsed ablative lasers (CO2/erbium [Er]:yttrium aluminum garnet [YAG]) are more suited to treat acquired melanocytic nevi. The complexities of treating this disorder can be overcome by following a structured approach by using lasers that achieve the appropriate depth to treat the three subtypes of nevi: junctional, compound, and dermal. Thus, junctional nevi respond to Q-switched/normal mode pigment lasers, where for the compound and dermal nevi, pulsed ablative laser (CO2/Er:YAG) may be needed. If surgical excision is employed, a wide margin and proper depth must be ensured, which is skill dependent. A lifelong follow-up for recurrence and melanoma is warranted in predisposed individuals, although melanoma is decidedly uncommon in most acquired melanocytic nevi, even though histological markers may be seen on evaluation.
Keywords: lasers, surgery, nevus, melanoma
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