KeywordsContinuing Medical Education
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AbstractGiant congenital melanocytic nevus is usually defined as a melanocytic lesion present at birth that will reach a diameter ≥ 20 cm in adulthood. Its incidence is estimated in <1:20,000 newborns. Despite its rarity, this lesion is important because it may associate with severe complications such as malignant melanoma, affect the central nervous system (neurocutaneous melanosis), and have major psychosocial impact on the patient and his family due to its unsightly appearance. Giant congenital melanocytic nevus generally presents as a brown lesion, with flat or mammilated surface, well-demarcated borders and hypertrichosis. Congenital melanocytic nevus is primarily a clinical diagnosis. However, congenital nevi are histologically distinguished from acquired nevi mainly by their larger size, the spread of the nevus cells to the deep layers of the skin and by their more varied architecture and morphology. Although giant congenital melanocytic nevus is recognized as a risk factor for the development of melanoma, the precise magnitude of this risk is still controversial. The estimated lifetime risk of developing melanoma varies from 5 to 10%. On account of these uncertainties and the size of the lesions, the management of giant congenital melanocytic nevus needs individualization. Treatment may include surgical and non-surgical procedures, psychological intervention and/or clinical follow-up, with special attention to changes in color, texture or on the surface of the lesion. The only absolute indication for surgery in giant congenital melanocytic nevus is the development of a malignant neoplasm on the lesion.