Pediatric and Adolescent Dermatology
Mount Sinai's Department of Dermatology is deeply committed to offering state-of-the-art dermatologic care to our pediatric and adolescent patients. Our caring staff is particularly sensitive to the needs of young patients. Whenever possible, we do all we can to make your child's visit a pleasant experience.
Our pediatric dermatology specialists, Lauren Geller, MD and Susan Bershad, MD, see children of all ages from birth to 21 years of age. They are highly trained in the treatment of a wide variety of pediatric and adolescent skin conditions including acne, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, molluscum, warts, alopecia, vitiligo, pigmented and vascular birthmarks as well as skin conditions associated with genetic and systemic disorders.
Pediatric and Adolescent Dermatology Procedures
We offer minor surgical procedures such as acne surgery and the biopsy or excision of atypical moles. We also offer laser treatments, including pulse dye laser therapy for vascular birthmarks such as port wine stains. Furthermore, we are fortunate to have the excimer laser and phototherapy available in our department for the treatment of conditions such as vitiligo, eczema and psoriasis. Whenever we can, we use topical numbing cream to make any necessary procedure as painless as possible.
Protect Your Child's Skin
It is never too young to see a dermatologist for a skin cancer screening. Children, like adults, should have periodic skin examinations by a dermatologist, especially if there is a family history of dysplastic (atypical) moles, melanoma, or other skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma or basal cell carcinoma. While still rare, the incidence of melanoma in childhood and adolescence is increasing. A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that between 1973 and 2009, the incidence of melanoma in children and adolescents increased by 2 percent per year. Skin cancer is often preventable and treatable with the proper sun protection and early detection.
Some Common Pediatric Skin Conditions
Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic relapsing skin condition that presents with red, dry itchy skin. It is extremely common, affecting 15-30% of children and often begins in early infancy, with almost 50% of children having an onset of symptoms in the first six months of life. In addition to dry skin care, children with atopic dermatitis often require treatment with a topical corticosteroids or topical calcineurin inhibitors (example, Protopic). In more severe cases, phototherapy or systemic immunosuppressants may be needed. At your visit, our pediatric dermatologists will develop a treatment plan tailored to your child's needs. They will also evaluate your child for any skin infections including staph infections and help to identify any other triggers that may be contributing to your child's eczema such as food or environmental allergies.
Common warts, also called verruca vulgaris, are skin growths caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). They are spread by contact with infected people or contaminated objects and surfaces. They can occur anywhere on the body, but in children they usually affect the hands, particularly around the nails (periungual warts) or the soles of the feet (plantar warts). Sometimes, warts go away on their own within a few years, but they may increase in number and size or become painful or itchy and thus treatment is often desired. There are many different treatments available for warts including topical liquids or pads with salicylic acid, tretinoin cream, cryosurgery (freezing) with liquid nitrogen, candida antigen and surgical removal. Your dermatologist will help you decide which treatment is best for your child depending on your child's age as well as the size, number and location of the warts.
Infantile hemangiomas are one of the most common vascular birthmarks seen in children, affecting 5-10% of all infants. They usually become first noticeable in the first few weeks of life. They then undergo a period of proliferation (growth) where they get larger, more raised and often redder in color. Some may appear blue in color if they are deeper within the skin layers. After one year, they slowly start to involute (go away). Since most hemangiomas come and go without causing any problems, not all hemangiomas need treatment. However, hemangiomas in certain locations can cause potential disfigurement, functional problems such as vision abnormalities, or ulcerate and bleed. Various treatment options are available for those hemangiomas that require intervention including topical medications such as timolol, oral medications such as propranolol, surgery and laser therapy.
Involvement with the Kravis Children's Hospital at Mount Sinai
In addition to seeing patients in the outpatient setting, our pediatric dermatologists are also involved with inpatient consultations, working in collaboration with other pediatric services at the Kravis Children's Hospital at Mount Sinai to care for patients on the pediatric inpatient floors, in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and the pediatric emergency room.