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Stork bite

Definition

A stork bite is a common type of birthmark seen in a newborn. It is most often temporary.

The medical term for a stork bite is nevus simplex. A stork bite is also called a salmon patch.

Alternative Names

Salmon patch; Nevus flammeus

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Stork bites occur in about one third of all newborns.

A stork bite is due to a stretching (dilation) of certain blood vessels. It may become darker when the child cries or room temperature changes. It may fade when you push on it.

Symptoms

A stork bite usually looks pink and flat. A baby may be born with a stork bite, or the birthmark may appear in the first months of life. Stork bites may be found on the forehead, eyelids, nose, upper lip, or back of the neck.

Signs and tests

A doctor can diagnose a stork bite simply by looking at. No tests are needed.

Treatment

No treatment is needed. If a stork bite lasts longer than 3 years, it may be removed with a laser to improve the person's appearance.

Expectations (prognosis)

Most stork bites on the face go away completely in about 18 months. Stork bites on the back of the neck usually do not go away.

Complications

There are usually no complications.

Calling your health care provider

All birthmarks should be examined by the health care provider during a routine well-baby examination.

Prevention

There is no known prevention.

References

Habif TP. Vascular tumors and malformations. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2004:chap 23.


Review Date: 6/2/2009
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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