Bathing trunk nevus

Bathing trunk nevus


A bathing trunk nevus is a dark colored, often hairy patch of skin present at birth, which may cover an extremely large area of the body. Sometimes the disfiguration covers most of the middle of the body, the upper arms, and thighs.

Alternative Names

Congenital giant pigmented nevus; Giant hairy nevus


Bathing trunk nevi are thought to be caused by defects or problems that occur as a baby grows in the womb. But, in some families, the frequent appearance of the condition suggests that bathing trunk nevus may be inherited.

Bathing trunk nevus may be associated with other birth defects.

The skin may vary from smooth to wart-like, and the color can range from brown to bluish black. Bathing trunk nevi may cause emotional problems because of their appearance.

Bathing trunk nevi can develop into melanoma (a type of skin cancer). The risk is thought to be between 3-7%.


  • Dark-colored lesion covering a large area of the middle body or arms and legs
    • Brown to bluish black color
    • May contain hair

Exams and Tests

All birthmarks should be evaluated by your health care provider. A biopsy of suspicious areas may be obtained for examination to determine if the cells have become cancerous. An MRI of the brain might be performed.


Treatment consists of surgery to remove of the nevus, with skin grafting where necessary. Extremely large nevi may be removed in several stages.

Psychological treatment may be needed to deal with the emotional impact of having a disfiguring disorder.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Except when the nevus transforms into malignant melanoma, bathing trunk nevi are compatible with a normal life span.

Possible Complications

On rare occasion, bathing trunk nevi are associated with a condition called leptomeningeal melanocytosis (growth of pigment-producing cells in the head), which can produce hydrocephalus

Bathing trunk nevi can become melanoma. They can also be associated with spina bifida, meningocele, other nevi, lipomas, and neurofibromatosis.

Depression and other emotional problems may occur due to social difficulties related to bathing trunk nevi.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

This condition is usually diagnosed at birth. Call for an appointment with your health care provider (or mention it during a well-baby exam) if your child has a large pigmented area anywhere on the skin.

Bathing trunk nevus
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