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Abstract

Histopathology is considered the ‘gold’ standard for the diagnosis and classification of melanocytic nevi, but the widespread use of in vivo diagnostic technologies such as dermoscopy and reflectance confocal microscopy (RCM), has enriched profoundly the knowledge regarding the morphological variability in nevi. This is because most morphological observations made via these in vivo tools are closely correlated with features seen in histopathology. Dermoscopy has allowed for a more detailed classification of nevi. As such, dermoscopy identifies four main morphologic groups (i.e. globular, reticular, starburst and structureless blue nevi), one group of nevi located at special body sites (i.e. face, acral, nail) and one group of nevi with special features. This latter category consists of nevi of the former categories, which are typified by peculiar clinical-histopathological findings. They can be subdivided into ‘melanoma simulators’ including combined nevi, recurrent nevi and sclerosing nevus with pseudomelanomatous features, ‘targetoid’ nevi (i.e. halo, cockade, irritated targetoid haemosiderotic and eczematous nevus) and uncommon histopathological variants such as desmoplastic, white dysplastic or ballon cell nevus. While the dermoscopic and RCM patterns of the former categories have been studied in detail, little is currently known about the clinical morphology of the heterogeneous group of ‘special’ nevi. In this article, we describe the clinical, dermoscopic and RCM features of ‘special’ nevi and review the current literature on this group of melanocytic proliferations.