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Mongolian blue spots

Definition

Mongolian spots are flat, blue, or blue-gray skin markings near the buttocks that commonly appear at birth or shortly thereafter.

See also: Rashes

Alternative Names

Mongolian spots; Congenital dermal melanocytosis; Dermal melanocytosis

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Mongolian blue spots are common among darker skinned persons, such as those who are of Asian, East Indian, and African descent.

Symptoms

Mongolian spots are noncancerous skin markings and are not associated with disease. The markings may cover a large area of the back.

Occasionally, Mongolian blue spots are mistaken for bruises, which can raise a question about possible child abuse. It is important to recognize that Mongolian blue spots are birthmarks, NOT bruises.

Symptoms include:

  • Blue or blue-gray spots on the back, buttocks, base of spine, shoulders, and other body areas
  • Flat area with irregular shape and unclear edges
  • Normal skin texture
  • The spots are usually 2 - 8 centimeters wide

Signs and tests

No tests are needed. Your doctor can diagnose this condition by looking at the skin.

Treatment

No treatment is necessary or recommended.

Expectations (prognosis)

The spots often fade in a few years and are almost always gone by adolescence.

Complications

There are no complications.

Calling your health care provider

All birthmarks should be examined by a health care provider during the routine newborn examination.

References

James WD, Berger TG, Elston DM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011.


Review Date: 5/13/2011
Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.  Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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