The Incidence and Significance of Birthmarks in a Cohort of 4,641 Newborns


  • Joseph C. Alper M.D.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Dermatology, Brown University, Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine Chief, Subsection of Medical Genetics, Roger Williams General Hospital, Providence. RI
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  • Lewis B. Holmes M.D.

    1. Associate Pediatrician, Chief, Embryology-Teratology Unit, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston. MA
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Joseph C. Alper, M.D., Department of Medicine, Roger Williams General Hospital, 825 Chalkstone Avenue. Providence, RI 02908. Telephone (401) 456-2060.


Abstract: An unsclectcd cohort of 4,641 newboms was ascertained prospectively for the purpose of detecting any cutaneous lesion. These were catalogued into pigmented lesions, vascular lesions, and miscellaneous lesions. Several important findings were elucidated: congenital nevocellular nevi are speckled at their borders: no white newborn in the study had more than one café au lait mark; a hypopigmented tuft of hair was seen in one infant with tuberous sclerosis but is found more commonly in normal individuals; a previously undescribed lesion called zosteriform melanocytic nevus was seen as a normal pigmentary variant in blacks; and hypopigmented macules seen at birth are seen primarily in normal infants. It is hoped that these findings will allow the pediatrician and dermatologist to offer more meaningful prognostic information to their patients.