There are a couple of ways to reduce hyperpigmentation. Let’s take a look at the ones specific to Nevus of Ota.
For Nevus of Ota, laser treatment has proven to be the most effective, however, multiple sessions and applications are required to correct the patches. The laser destroys the melanocytes that cause hyperpigmentation, to restore natural skin pigmentation.
Laser therapy is more effective in people with lighter skin tones. Laser therapy may leave scars behind and multiple sessions are required as hyperpigmentation can reappear. In a few cases, nevus of Ota can return as hypo or hyper-pigmentation (light or darker patches as compared to the original hues) in patients.
As there are few limitations of laser therapy, many patients opt for cosmetic products over laser treatment. Foundations, camouflaging creams, or concealers can hide the affected region well. Various color-correcting products and contouring products also help conceal nevus of Ota.
Malignant melanomas require treatment, it depends on the size of the patch and the extent of invasion. Your doctor may perform a Mohs micrographic surgery to remove the lesions and reconstruct the surrounding tissue. For some cases, your doctor may even recommend radiotherapy, thermotherapy, or chemotherapy.
Ophthalmological screening and recording of vision are performed to rule out uveal melanomas. Uveal melanoma will require treatment based on its size and location. Doctors may perform radiotherapy, surgical resection, enucleation, or thermotherapy.
Studies reveal that less than 4% of people can develop choroidal melanoma in the affected eye. Patients are recommended to have their pigmentations examined by their ophthalmologist periodically to rule out complications.
There are many minimally invasive treatment options available to treat nevus of Ota. Dermatologic treatments involve the following alternatives,
- Chemical peels- In this method, a chemical is applied to your skin, which makes it blister and eventually peel off.
- Dermabrasion- It is also called surgical skin planing. In this technique, your dermatologist uses a specialized instrument to ‘sand’ the skin. The topmost layer of the skin is scraped away to unveil smooth new skin.
- Electrocautery- In this procedure heat from electricity is used to destroy abnormal tissue. The electric current passes through an electrode which is placed near the affected tissue. This procedure is used to treat lesions and tumor cells.
- Cryotherapy- This procedure involves using very low temperatures to remove abnormal tissues. Mostly liquid nitrogen or argon gas is used for this procedure.
Can Nevus of Ota cause other complications?
The main social impact of Nevus of Ota is a cosmetic concern. Malignancies are rare. 1 in 400 patients develops malignancies. In rare cases, it may affect the optic disc.
There is a 10.3% risk of developing glaucoma. In some patients, other complications such as increased intraocular pressures are also observed. For these complications, periodic examination by your doctor is highly recommended for patients suffering from the condition.
The follow-up care prescribed by doctors should be religiously followed by patients with increased intraocular pressure.
Overall, in the majority of patients, the lesions are benign with an excellent prognosis without treatment. Yearly screening by your dermatologist and ophthalmologist will rule out the chances of developing glaucoma or melanomas.
Should I be worried if I am suffering from Nevus of Ota?
Patients should be taught that Nevus of Ota is benign lesions that appear to be seen as hyperpigmented blue-green or grey patches on the face. Patients should bear in mind that malignancies are very rare. Patients should seek medical consultation if any changes in the size of the lesion or any discolorations are seen. Periodic follow-up visits with your doctor are recommended to measure intraocular pressures.
What is the cost of treating Nevus of Ota?
The cost of treatment depends on the type of treatment chosen. Laser treatments are relatively costly as compared to removal of nevus of Ota. The cost of treatment of nevus of Ota also depends upon the type of lesion, size of the lesion, and its invasion on the skin surface.
There are chances of recurrence, hence follow-ups are recommended to rule out any symptoms or further complications.
What is the outlook for Nevus of Ota?
Nevus of Ota is a cosmetic concern and can sometimes be treated. Without treatment, the lesion may remain unchanged throughout one's life. The lesions may darken over time or due to sun exposure. So, being sun protective should be one of the basic measures.
Medical or surgical intervention is needed for the following reasons,
- To rule of malignancies
- To reduce symptoms of Nevus of Ota
- To prevent bleeding, ulceration, infection, or enlargement of the patches
- To correct disfigurement
- To prevent progression to malignancies
- To rule out other reactive processes
Although the nevus of Ota is benign, patients are advised to see their dermatologist and ophthalmologists check for signs of developing glaucoma or melanoma.
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