Monday, December 27, 2010
I am so excited that you decided to learn a little more about my son Zachary's condition. I hope to educate and help people understand this condition as well as the treatments for it with every post. Most people have moles. However, a giant nevus is that on a much bigger scale. Zachary's nevus covers almost his entire back down to the top of his butt. It wraps around the front of his torso. He also has several 'satellites' which are small random nevi in various shapes and sizes all over his little body, a few are pretty big (bigger than a quarter) and a little hairy; most look like he has been splattered with coffee - those nevi are not raised or hairy. He had a few at birth, mostly bigger ones but these little birthmarks just kept multiplying until I couldn't keep count anymore.
A lot of people have wondered why we would bother to have such a large nevus or birthmark removed. I mean, God obviously made this beautiful boy this way...why change a thing. A nevus can be more than just an unattractive, hairy mole. There can be issues with decreased body cooling because the nevus skin has fewer functioning sweat glands and too little fat where the nevus is located (something very scary for the climate we live in). The skin can be extremely delicate and tear easily, requiring restricted activities. People with large nevi have a higher risk of skin cancer.
The second question most people have is how do you remove such a large birthmark. One procedure, the one Zac will be having next week. Is called tissue expansion. The first surgery is done to place an 'expander' under non-nevus skin to expand the skin. The expanders are filled once a week (at home) with a saline for a 12 week period. The bigger the expander, the more good skin you have to replace the nevus skin. When the expander is taken out, the nevus is cut out (several layers) and good skin is pulled over that area. This works better than skin grafting because the expanded skin already has its own blood supply.
The surgeon we have chosen is located in Chicago. Dr. Bauer has been doing nevus removal for over 30 years! So we know Zac will be in good hands. Not to mention, we know that God is looking after Zac and guiding the hands of this most skilled surgeon. These are pictures of the giant nevus on Zac's back. The expander will be placed in his upper left shoulder.
To learn more on this condition, you can visit www.nevusoutreach.org