Luna Tavares-Fenner from Florida became famous on Instagram for her Batman birthmark. Thanks to her mother sharing her story, she has now finally begun the process of having it removed. Just wait until you see what the now two-year-old looks like without it!
The Little Girl Born With The Batman Birthmark
When Carol Fenner was pregnant with Luna, everything seemed perfectly normal. All of her ultrasounds and scans showed that there was no reason to think that her little girl would be born differently. When she gave birth, however, she and her husband had a big shock. Luna had a birthmark that covered part of her forehead, nose, eyelids, and down onto her cheeks. It looked like she was wearing, well, a batman mask. (1)
“I’m used to it now, but then I was just shocked,” Carol said.
The giant batman mask-shaped birthmark is actually a skin condition called Giant Congenital Melanocytic Nevus. (2)
What Is Giant Congenital Melanocytic Nevus?
Giant Congenital Melanocytic Nevus (GCMN) is more or less a mole that you are born with. In the case of GCMN, that mole is, well, giant. The skin is very dark in color, raised, and usually has a different texture than regular skin. They are formed in utero when the pigment-producing cells group together in one place instead of evenly dispersing throughout the skin.
GCMN occurs in about one in every 20,000 births. They begin growing anywhere between five and 24 weeks gestation, and the earlier they begin the larger they will be. They can become both smaller or larger over time. Often with the giant type, they tend to only get bigger.
Most congenital nevi (plural of nevus) are completely harmless. They do have a higher risk of becoming cancerous, especially the giant ones. While removing it doesn’t completely decrease the child’s slightly elevated cancer risk, it can help at least a little bit.
“Besides looking unusual, they pose a risk of malignant degeneration. The skin cells in those areas are abnormal and can turn into a malignant melanoma, which is a very lethal type of skin cancer,” said Dr. Anthony Wolfe, a pediatric plastic surgeon with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
Treatment options for GCMN vary depending on the size of the nevus and the age of the child. The options include: