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How are pigmented birthmarks diagnosed?

Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery

The majority of pigmented lesions are diagnosed by clinical examination of the skin. All 3 hemangiomas, port-wine stains, and cafe-au-let spots are benign skin lesions that can be properly diagnosed by a Board Certified dermatologist. Suspicious lesions may require biopsy, although most pigmented lesions are benign.

Deborah Mulligan
Deborah Mulligan on behalf of MDLIVE
Pediatrics
There are two main categories of birthmarks — red birthmarks and pigmented birthmarks. Red birthmarks are a vascular (blood vessel) type of birthmark. Pigmented birthmarks are areas in which the color of the birthmark is different from the color of the rest of the skin.  In most cases, your doctor can diagnose a pigmented birthmark based on the appearance of the skin. Deeper birthmarks can be confirmed with tests such as MRI, ultrasound, CT scans, or biopsies.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.