An atypical nevus is a nevus (mole) that exhibits architectural disorder and other features under the microscope that distinguish it from a routine nevus. Generally, the atypia is graded mild, intermediate, or severe. It is known that some malignant melanomas arise from a preexisting nevus and it is thought that nevi with atypia represent precursor lesions for the development of melanoma. As such, identification and complete excision of atypical nevi may prevent the development of melanoma, a potentially life-threatening form of skin cancer. Dr. Fremling has been providing the surgical treatment of atypical nevi for over 25 years.
The following findings are associated with atypia or malignant transformation of a nevus into a melanoma:
- Border Irregularity
- Color Variation (more than a single uniform color)
- Diameter greater than 5 mm
Lesions exhibiting these characteristics should be considered for biopsy to rule out melanoma.
When these features are present, your dermatologist or primary care physician may perform a punch biopsy or shave biopsy to make a diagnosis. If the pathology report indicates an atypical nevus, you may be referred to our office to schedule complete excision and repair of the lesion. Alternately, you may be referred to our office for excision of a lesion based upon physical findings only. In either case, surgical excision can frequently be accomplished in a single visit. Photos can be sent to the office from your cell phone using the “Contact Us” tab on this site eliminating the need for an office consultation prior to surgery and closure is typically performed using absorbable buried sutures and skin glue thereby avoiding the need for a return visit for suture removal following surgery. Plastic surgical techniques are utilized to minimize scarring.