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Comparative Treatment of Giant Congenital Melanocytic Nevi with Curettage or Er:YAG Laser Ablation Alone versus with Cultured Epithelial Autografts


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Kyu-Kwang Whang, MD, Department of Dermatology, Ewha Womans University, Dongdaemun Hospital, 70. Chongro 6-Ka, Chongro-Gu, Seoul, Korea; or e-mail:


Background. Treatment options for congenital melanocytic nevi (CMN) include complete surgical excision, dermabrasion, curettage, and laser therapy. Fresh cultured epithelial autograft (CEA) after curettage or erbium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Er:YAG) ablation presents a novel option in the management of large-sized or giant CMN.

Objective. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the outcome of CEA after curettage or Er:YAG ablation of CMN and to compare the safety, efficacy, and side-effect profile of CEA with the non-CEA group.

Methods. Ten patients with CMN were treated with curettage (one patient), Er:YAG ablation (four patients), or both (five patients) followed by CEA, and eight patients were treated with curettage (two patients), Er:YAG ablation (one patient), or both (five patients) without CEA. All 18 patients were evaluated at week 16 after the operation with respect to pigmentation, erythema, hypertrophic scarring, textural change, granulation tissue formation, infection, and healing time. Global Assessment Scale scores were graded before and 16 weeks after the operation by physicians and patients.

Results. Reduced pigmentation in the treated areas was seen in both groups, but the time to complete healing was significantly shorter in the CEA than in the non-CEA group (p < .05). There was less hypertrophic scar formation and granulation tissue formation and fewer other side effects in the CEA group.

Conclusion. In view of the favorable outcome of CEA combined with curettage or Er:YAG laser ablation in the treatment of giant CMN, CEA is a safe and effective novel treatment adjunct that accelerates healing, with fewer side effects.