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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2003 Jun;111(7):2209-14.

Carbon dioxide laser dermabrasion for giant congenital melanocytic nevi.

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  • 1Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, United Kingdom.


The management of giant congenital melanocytic nevi remains controversial. There is a balance to be achieved between minimizing the disfiguring appearance of these lesions, both before and after surgical treatment, and limiting the risk of malignant change. A series of seven patients who were treated in the same manner, with carbon dioxide laser dermabrasion, is presented. It has been 6 years since the first patient was treated in this way, and no cases of recurrence have been observed. This technique enables the removal of all or most of the pigmented lesion, with minimal scarring and without the need for disfiguring skin grafts. It has been well proved that there is an increased risk of malignant changes among patients with these lesions, although the amount of increased risk for the patient is not clear. Evidence from a review of the currently available literature is presented to indicate why this management method, at best, should decrease this risk and, at worst, should make no difference to the overall risk for individual patients.

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