This site is intended for healthcare professionals

Go to /sign-in page

You can view 5 more pages before signing in

Pigmented naevi

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

These localised collections of melanocytes are extremely common and usually first appear during childhood. They increase during adolescence and may decrease in the elderly. Histological changes may occur during puberty and pregnancy. Most people have 5-20 melanocytic naevi. Many are acquired; some are inherited.

The importance of pigmented naevi lies in the identification of those with potential for malignant change - for example, include enlargement, altered pigmentation - increased or decreased - asymmetry, irregularity of the surface or edge, inflammation, bleeding, ulceration, itch or nodularity.

Individual melanocytic lesions may be clinically evaluated by (1):

  • examination with the naked eye
  • dermoscopy
  • photographic comparison.

Only photographic comparison helps in monitoring change in a particular lesion, which is important when observing for malignant transformation.

Excision is indicated if malignant transformation is suggested or for cosmetic reasons. However, less than 30% of melanomas arise from pre-existing naevi.


Related pages

Create an account to add page annotations

Add information to this page that would be handy to have on hand during a consultation, such as a web address or phone number. This information will always be displayed when you visit this page