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Treatment of a Giant Congenital Melanocytic Nevus in the Adult

Review of the Current Management of Giant Congenital Melanocytic Nevus

Su, Jeannie J. MAS; Chang, Daniel K. MD; Mailey, Brian MD; Gosman, Amanda MD

doi: 10.1097/SAP.0000000000000433
Clinical Articles

Giant congenital melanocytic nevi (GCMNs) create cosmetic disfigurements and pose risk for malignant transformation. Adult GCMN cases are uncommon because most families opt for surgical treatment during childhood. We review the current literature on GCMN and present an interesting case of an adult with a GCMN encompassing the entire back with painful nodules exhibiting gross involvement of his back musculature, without pathologic evidence of malignancy. Surgical management was deferred in childhood because of parental desires to allow the patient to make his own decision, and treatment in adulthood was pursued on the basis of the significant impairment of the patient’s quality of life and self-esteem due to the massive size and deforming nature of the nevus.

The treatment strategy used for this young adult male patient involved a massive en bloc excision of the GCMN with partial resection of the latissimus dorsi, followed by a 5-week staged reconstructive process using dermal regenerative matrices and split-thickness skin grafting. Because of the shift in GCMN management from early surgical management to more conservative management, we may see an increase in adult cases of GCMN. Thus, it is critical to better understand the controversy surrounding early versus delayed management of GCMN.

From the Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA.

Received July 7, 2014, and accepted for publication, after revision, December 6, 2014.

Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: none declared.

Reprints: Amanda Gosman, MD, Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of California, San Diego, 200 W. Arbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92103-8890. E-mail:

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