Dysplastic (abnormally-growing) nevi (moles) are also called atypical nevi.

As their name implies, they are abnormal looking moles that may appear a lot like melanoma.  Normal moles are common, small brown dots. Dysplastic nevi tend to have uneven color with dark brown centers and lighter, uneven edges. They can occur in almost everyone.  They are generally normal-looking: symmetrically round and regularly shaped. Dysplastic nevi, on the other hand, are usually larger than common moles, have irregular borders, and can have different colors in the same mole. They are most common on the trunk of a male, but also as common on the calves on a female.

In order to tell if melanoma is present through dysplastic nevus is by looking for signs and symptoms of “ABCDE”

Asymmetrical skin lesion

Border of the lesion is irregular

Color: melanoma usually has multiple colors

Diameter: a mole greater than 6 mm is more likely to be melanoma

Evolution: the evolution or change of the mole  may be an early sign that the mole is becoming malignant.

Melanoma can even develop within a dysplastic nevus.  There is a higher risk of melanoma in those with dysplastic nevi than in the general population.  People with this skin condition may have more than 100 miles. The greater the number of dysplastic nevi present, the greater the risk that person has of developing melanoma.  Because of these risks, those with dysplastic nevi need regular skin exams by a dermatologist.  If you suspect you may have dysplastic nevi, it is very important that you make an appointment to see an experienced dermatologist such as Dr. Rokhsar.  The dermatologist will likely perform a biopsy in order to determine if your moles are in fact dysplastic.


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