What are congenital moles?
These are small brown or black marks which are seen on a child’s skin at birth, or which develop in the first month or so of life. They are benign non-cancerous overgrowths of the cells in the skin responsible for normal skin colour. In some cases, there is also a slight overgrowth of the hair-forming cells.
Who gets them and why?
About one baby in 100 has a small or medium sized congenital mole. We do not know why they develop.
Will they change as the baby grows?
This is very variable. Most congenital moles grow a little, but not as fast as the child, so that they become less obvious. Some darkening of the mole as the child gets older is not unusual.
What treatment is needed?
It is a good idea to take a close-up photograph of the mole with a ruler beside it. This will be helpful if you think the mole is growing or changing in any way.
If small congenital moles are just growing with the child and not changing in any other way, the usual practice at present is not to remove them until the child is old enough to cooperate with a local anaesthetic injection, usually aged around ten to twelve years. Even then, removal is not essential.
If a congenital mole suddenly becomes darker, larger, or lumpy, your doctor may decide that earlier removal is needed. This is uncommon.
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust would like your feedback. If you wish to share your experience about your care and treatment or on behalf of a patient, please contact The Patient Experience Department who will advise you on how best to do this.
This service is based at The James Cook University Hospital but also covers the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, our community hospitals and community health services.