This Baby Was Born With Life-Threatening Birthmarks, Then Doctors Came Up With a Strange Solution
Dylan Little’s mother Kara and the entire medical staff were quite bewildered when he was born four years ago. On top of a massive dark mark covering Dylan’s entire back, life-threatening birthmarks also covered his legs and arms. Fortunately, the neonatal ICU quickly diagnosed the problem. Dylan had been born suffering from a rare skin disorder known as congenital melanocytic nevus.
According to his mother, more than 80% of Dylan’s body was covered in birthmarks at birth. His entire back was black and bloody while his face, arms, and legs were covered in moles. Although less severe forms of congenital melanocytic nevus cause birthmarks or tiny moles, fewer than 500,000 children have such a dramatic case at birth. In fear that his condition could develop into a life-threatening skin cancer someday, his parents looked deeper into the disorder. Unfortunately, the affected surface area of Dylan’s skin was far too large for a simple removal of the spots.
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Then a ray of hope for Dylan and his parents Kara and Nikki came from an unexpected direction. Doctors inserted implants, similar to those used for breast enlargement, underneath Dylan’s healthy skin. Over the course of three months, doctors used a saline solution to expand these implants to stretch his skin slowly. Doctors informed his parents that it was an essential preparatory step before his treatment continued. Eventually, the doctors took out the implants, removing his life-threatening birthmarks. The doctors then used the excess skin to fill in the gap.
To date, Dylan undergoes another operation every three to six months and has since been under the knife 26 times. However, doctors have successfully removed more than half of Dylan’s life-threatening birthmarks. They hope to replace every mole with healthy skin to significantly reduce the chances that Dylan might get skin cancer. Meanwhile, his parents are trying to do whatever it takes to afford Dylan the longest and best life possible.
Kara and Nikki are also working on Dylan’s self-confidence since people on the street have already thrown rude comments his way. In response, Dylan’s family gives out little information cards about his rare skin condition.
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How common is congenital melanocytic nevus?
• Small congenital nevi occur in about 1 in every 100 births.
• Medium congenital nevi occur in approximately 1 in every 1000 births.
• Giant congenital melanocytic nevi are quite rarer, occurring in about 1 in every 20,000 live births.
Congenital melanocytic nevi occur equally across the board regardless of ethnicity, race, or gender. Although congenital melanocytic nevi typically grow proportionally with the victim, they can also become smaller and less visible over time. In rare occasions, some may even disappear. Unfortunately, they could also become raised, more bumpy, more hairy, and darker, especially during puberty.
Localized genetic abnormalities leading to the proliferation of melanocytes are the cause of congenital melanocytic nevi. Melanocytes are skin cells responsible for normal skin color. According to doctors, abnormal proliferation occurs during gestation, between the 5th and 24th weeks. The formation of medium-sized and giant congenital melanocytic nevi happens if proliferation starts early. Comparatively, smaller congenital melanocytic nevi only form later during gestation, after immature melanocytes migrate to the skin from the neural crest. Overgrowth of the epidermis and hair-forming cells can also form an organoid nevus, as evidenced by some rare cases.
Dylan must be such a courageous young man to go through such suffering at such a young age. Fortunately, he was born into a very supportive family. As evidenced by the fact that Dylan has already been subjected to rude remarks, dealing with congenital melanocytic nevus cannot be easy. However, since continued treatment offers the possibility of ultimately curing this skin disorder, the families of victims can now hold on to hope. Seeking medical attention is however of uttermost importance.