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A 15-year-old boy is brought in by his mother with a concern about growth of his birthmark. It has become somewhat more raised and bumpy in the past year (Figure 170-1). The adolescent reports no symptoms and is not worried about the appearance. He is otherwise healthy with no neurologic symptoms. The joint decision of the family and the doctor was to not excise the epidermal nevus at this time. He may choose to have this removed by a plastic surgeon in the future.

FIGURE 170-1

Epidermal nevus on the face of a teenager. This nevus has been present since birth, and the patient is otherwise healthy. (Reproduced with permission from Richard P. Usatine, MD.)


  • Epidermal nevi (EN) are congenital hamartomas of ectodermal origin classified based on their main component: sebaceous, apocrine, eccrine, follicular, or keratinocytic.

  • Nevus sebaceus (NS) is a hamartoma of the epidermis, hair follicles, and sebaceous and apocrine glands. A hamartoma is the disordered overgrowth of benign tissue in its area of origin.


  • EN syndrome is also called Solomon syndrome and is a neurocutaneous disorder characterized by EN and an assortment of neurologic and visceral manifestations.

  • NS is also called sebaceous nevus and nevus sebaceus of Jadassohn (Figure 170-2).

  • An inflammatory linear verrucous epidermal nevus (ILVEN) (Figure 170-3) can be part of an epidermal nevus syndrome, but some affected persons have only the cutaneous EN.

FIGURE 170-2

Nevus sebaceus on the scalp of a 14-year-old boy. (Reproduced with permission from Richard P. Usatine, MD.)

FIGURE 170-3

Inflammatory linear verrucous epidermal nevus (ILVEN) on the trunk of an adult man. Topical steroids were not helpful in diminishing his pruritus. (Reproduced with permission from Robert T. Gilson, MD.)


  • EN are uncommon (approximately 1% to 3% of newborns and children), sporadic, and usually present at birth, although they can appear in early childhood (Figure 170-4).

  • EN are associated with disorders of the eye and nervous and musculoskeletal systems in 10% to 30% of patients; in one study, 7.9% of patients with EN had 1 of the 9 syndromes—an estimated 1 per 11,928 pediatric patients.1

  • In another review of 131 cases of EN, most (60%) had noninflammatory EN, one-third had NS, and 6% had ILVEN.2

  • NS is usually present at birth or noted in early childhood (Figure 170-5).3 Most cases are sporadic, but familial cases have been reported.2

  • Linear NS is estimated to occur in 1 per 1000 live births.4

  • Linear NS syndrome includes ...

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