Stork bite

Also known as: Salmon patch and Nevus flammeus

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.

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 the temperature changes. It may fade when pressure is put on it.

Symptoms

A stork bite usually looks pink and flat. A baby may be born with a stork bite. It may also 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 it. 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.

Calling your health care provider

The health care provider should look at all birthmarks during a routine well-baby exam.

Prevention

There is no known prevention.

References

Enjorlras O. Vascular malformations. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, et al, eds. Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 104.

Habif TP. Vascular tumors and malformations. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2009:chap 23.

Review date:
October 5, 2013
Reviewed by:
Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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