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 [ne´vus] (pl. ne´vi) (L.)
a circumscribed stable malformation of the skin or sometimes the oral mucosa, which is not due to external causes; the excess (or deficiency) of tissue may involve epidermal, connective tissue, adnexal, nervous, or vascular elements. Most are either brown, black, or pink; they may appear on any part of the skin, vary in size and thickness, and occur either in groups or alone. See also mole.

A nevus is usually not troublesome unless it is unsightly or disfiguring or becomes inflamed. If it changes noticeably, malignancy may be suspected, especially if any of the following are present: a highly irregular border, an uneven (pebbly) surface, or a mixture of colors (especially black, gray, or blue). Any change in size, color, or texture, or any bleeding or excessive itching, should be reported to a health care provider. Nevi can be removed by surgery or by other methods such as the application of solid carbon dioxide, injections, or radiotherapy.
nevus ara´neus vascular spider.
blue nevus a dark blue nodular lesion composed of closely grouped melanocytes and melanophages in the mid-dermis.
blue rubber bleb nevus a hereditary condition marked by multiple bluish cutaneous hemangiomas with soft raised centers, frequently associated with hemangiomas of the gastrointestinal tract.
nevus comedo´nicus a rare epidermal nevus marked by one or more patches 2 to 5 cm or more in diameter, in which there are collections of large comedones or comedolike lesions. This condition is occasionally associated with other lesions such as ichthyosis, vascular nevi, and cataracts.
compound nevus a nevocytic nevus composed of fully formed nests of nevus cells in the epidermis and newly forming ones in the dermis.
connective tissue nevus any nevus found in the dermal connective tissue with nodules, papules, plaques, or combinations of such lesions. Histologically, there is inconstant focal or diffuse thickening and abnormal staining of collagen.
epidermal nevus (epithelial nevus) a circumscribed congenital developmental anomaly resulting in faulty production of mature or nearly mature cutaneous structures; such nevi vary widely in appearance, size, and distribution and are commonly hyperkeratotic.
nevus flam´meus a congenital vascular malformation involving mature capillaries, present at birth. It consists of a reddish purple lesion that is flat or barely elevated and does not fade with age. It is a benign condition but may be associated with other syndromes such as sturge-weber syndrome. The dark variety is called a port-wine stain and a light variety is called a salmon patch. (See Atlas 1, Part E).
giant congenital pigmented nevus (giant hairy nevus) (giant pigmented nevus) any of a group of large, darkly pigmented hairy nevi, usually bilaterally symmetrical and present at birth; the most common locations are the chest, upper back, shoulders, arms, legs, and or hip and groin area. These nevi are associated with other cutaneous and subcutaneous lesions, as well as neurofibromatosis and other developmental anomalies, and they exhibit a predisposition to development of malignant melanoma.
halo nevus a pigmented nevus surrounded by a ring of depigmentation; called also leukoderma acquisitum centrifugum, Sutton's disease, and Sutton's nevus.
intradermal nevus a type of nevocytic nevus clinically indistinguishable from compound nevus, in which the nests of nevus cells lie exclusively within the dermis.
nevus of Ito a mongolian spot–like lesion having the same features as nevus of Ota except for localization to the areas of distribution of the posterior supraclavicular and lateral cutaneous brachial nerves, involving the shoulder, side of the neck, supraclavicular areas, and upper arm.
junction nevus (junctional nevus) a brownish, smooth, flat or slightly raised nevocytic nevus; histologically, there are nests of melanin-containing nevus cells at the dermoepidermal junction. (See Atlas 2, Part N.)
nevus lipomato´sus one that contains much fibrofatty tissue.
melanocytic nevus any nevus, usually pigmented, composed of melanocytes.
nevocytic nevus (nevus cell nevus) the most common type of nevus, usually more or less hyperpigmented, initially flat but soon becoming elevated, composed of nests of nevus cells. These nevi are classified as compound, intradermal, or junction according to the histologic pattern and location of nevus cells. Called also mole.
nevus of Ota (Ota's nevus) a persistent mongolian spot–like lesion, usually present at birth and unilateral, involving the conjunctiva and skin about the eye, as well as the sclera, ocular muscles, retrobulbar fat, periosteum, and buccal mucosa. It is a blue or gray-brown patchy area of pigmentation that grows slowly and becomes deeper in color. Although the lesion is benign, malignant melanoma occasionally develops, usually in the iris.
pigmented nevus (nevus pigmento´sus) one containing melanin; the term is usually restricted to nevocytic nevi (moles), but may be applied to other nevi that have pigmentation.
sebaceous nevus (nevus sebaceus of Jadassohn) an epidermal nevus of the scalp or less often the face, frequently growing larger during puberty or early adult life. In later life, some lesions may give rise to a variety of new growths, including basal cell carcinoma.
nevus sim´plex salmon patch.
spider nevus vascular spider.
nevus spi´lus a smooth, tan to brown, macular nevus composed of melanocytes and speckled with smaller, darker macules.
spindle and epithelioid cell nevus a benign compound nevus occurring most often in children before puberty, composed of spindle and epithelioid cells located mainly in the dermis, sometimes in association with large atypical cells and multinucleate cells, and having a close histopathological resemblance to malignant melanoma.
nevus spongio´sus al´bus muco´sae white sponge nevus.
Sutton's nevus halo nevus.
nevus uni´us la´teris a wartlike epidermal nevus, ranging from flesh colored to brown, found in a linear, unilaterally distributed pattern; on the extremities, the lesions usually follow the long axis, and on the trunk, they usually have a transverse orientation.
vascular nevus (nevus vascula´ris) (nevus vasculo´-sus) any of various reddish swellings or patches on the skin due to hypertrophy of capillaries; the term includes nevus flammeus, strawberry hemangioma, blue rubber bleb nevus, vascular spider, and cavernous hemangioma.
white sponge nevus a spongy white nevus of a mucous membrane, occurring as a hereditary condition.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


, pl.


(nē'vŭs, -vī), Do not confuse this word with nervus.
1. A circumscribed malformation of the skin, especially if colored by hyperpigmentation or increased vascularity; a nevus may be predominantly epidermal, adnexal, melanocytic, vascular, or mesodermal, or a compound overgrowth of these tissues.
2. A benign localized overgrowth of melanin-forming cells of the skin present at birth or appearing early in life. Synonym(s): mole (1)
[L. naevus, mole, birthmark]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


n. pl. ne·vi (-vī′)
Any of various congenital or acquired lesions of the skin or oral mucosa that are usually pigmented and raised and may include epidermal, connective, vascular, or other types of tissue.

ne′void′ (-void′) adj.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Plural, nevi Dermatology An often congenital, usually benign, circumscribed pigmented–tan, brown, or flesh-colored, spot–eg, a mole, on the skin and/or mucosae, due to either an ↑ or ↓ of melanin; nevi are considered hamartomas and contain spindle-shaped melanocytes. See Atypical nevus, Becker's nevus, Blue nevus, Congenital nevus, Dysplastic nevus, Familial dysplastic nevus, Garment nevus, Giant (pigmented) hairy nevus, Halo nevus, IVLEN nevus, Malignant blue nevus, Melanocytic nevus, Port-wine nevus, Speckled lentiginous nevus, Spitz nevus, Spotted pigmented nevus, White sponge nevus. Cf Lymph node inclusions.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


, pl. nevi (nē'vŭs, -vī)
1. A circumscribed malformation of the skin, especially one that is colored by hyperpigmentation or increased vascularity; a nevus may be predominantly epidermal, adnexal, melanocytic, vascular, or mesodermal, or a compound overgrowth of these tissues.
2. A benign localized overgrowth of melanin-forming cells of the skin at birth or appearing early in life.
Synonym(s): mole (1) , naevus.
[L. naevus, mole, birthmark]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


(ne'vus) (ne'vi?) plural.nevi [L. naevus, birthmark]
1. A congenital discoloration of a circumscribed area of the skin due to pigmentation. Synonym: birthmark; mole
2. A circumscribed vascular tumor of the skin, usually congenital, due to hyperplasia of the blood vessels. See: angioma

nevus anemicus

A patch of pale skin in which blood vessels are narrowed or contracted and blood flow is locally limited.

nevus araneus

Spider angioma.

blue nevus

A dark blue nevus covered by smooth skin. It is composed of melanin-pigmented spindle cells in the mid-dermis.

blue rubber bleb nevus

An erectile, easily compressible, bluish, cavernous hemangioma present in the skin and gastrointestinal tract.

capillary nevus

A nevus of dilated capillary vessels elevated above the skin. It is usually treated by ligature and excision.

nevus comedonicus

A horny nevus that contains a hard plug of keratin. It is caused by failure of the pilosebaceous follicles to develop normally.

compound nevus

A cluster of melanocytes found in both the epidermis and the dermis.

connective tissue nevus

A nevus composed of collagenous tissue.

cutaneous nevus

A nevus formation on the skin.

dysplastic nevus

A nevus composed of cells having some malignant characteristics.

eclipse nevus

A benign nevus often found on the scalp, having a pale or tan center enclosed within a darker encircling rim.

epidermal nevus

Raised nevi present at birth. They may be hyperkeratotic and widely distributed.

faun tail nevus

In newborns, a tuft of hair over the lower spinal column. It may be associated with spina bifida occulta.
Enlarge picture

nevus flammeus

A large reddish-purple nevus of the face or neck, usually not elevated above the skin. It is considered a serious deformity due to its large size and color. In children, these have been treated with the flashlamp-pulsed tunable dye laser.
Synonym: port-wine mark; port-wine stain See: illustration

hairy nevus

A nevus covered by a heavy growth of hair. It is usually darkly pigmented.

halo nevus

A papular brown nevus with an oval halo occurring in the first three decades of life. This type of nevus is usually benign but should be evaluated for malignancy.

intradermal nevus

A nevus in which the melanocytes are found in nests in the dermis and have no connection with the deeper layers from which they were formed.

Ito nevus

See: Ito nevus
Enlarge picture

junctional nevus

A nevus in the basal cell zone at the junction of the epidermis and dermis. It is slightly raised, pigmented, and does not contain hair. This type of nevus may become malignant. See: illustration

nevus lipomatous

A tumor composed of fatty connective tissue. It is probably a degenerated nevus containing numerous blood vessels.
Synonym: nevolipoma

melanocytic nevus

Any nevus that contains melanocytes.

nevocytic nevus

A common mole. Moles may appear at any age. They are classified according to their stage of growth and whether or not they are still growing.

Ota nevus

See: Ota nevus

pigmented nevus

A congenital nevus varying in color from light yellow to black. Intradermal or nevocytic nevi are benign. Other types of nevi may become malignant. Synonym: nevus pigmentosus


Malignant or suspicious lesions should be treated by wide surgical excision. Benign lesions do not require treatment except when located at sites of friction causing bleeding or ulceration. Some nevi are removed for cosmetic reasons.

nevus pigmentosus

pigmented nevus.

sebaceous nevus

nevus sebaceus.

nevus sebaceus

An epidermal nevus containing sebaceous gland tissue.
Synonym: sebaceous nevus

spider nevus

Spider angioma.illustration

nevus spilus

A pigmented nevus with a smooth, unraised surface.

nevus spongiosus albus mucosae

White sponge nevus.

strawberry nevus

1. Vascular nevus.
2. Infantile hemangioma.

telangiectatic nevus

A nevus containing dilated capillaries.

nevus unius lateris

A congenital nevus that occurs in streaks or linear bands on one side of the body. It usually occurs between the neurotomes of the lumbar or sacral area.

vascular nevus

A nevus in which superficial blood vessels are enlarged. Nevi of this type are usually congenital. They are of variable size and shape, slightly elevated, and red or purple in color. They generally appear on the face, head, neck, and arms, though no region is exempt. The nevi usually disappear spontaneously, but wrinkling, pigmentation, and scarring are sometimes seen.
Synonym: strawberry nevus (1); nevus vascularis

nevus vascularis

Vascular nevus.

nevus venosus

Venous nevus.

venous nevus

A nevus formed of dilated venules.
Synonym: nevus venosus

verrucous nevus

A nevus with a raised, wartlike surface.
Synonym: nevus verrucosus

nevus verrucosus

Verrucous nevus.

white sponge nevus

A white, spongy nevus that may occur in the mouth, labia, vagina, or rectum. Synonym: nevus spongiosus albus mucosae
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners

Nevus (plural, nevi)

The medical term for any anomaly of the skin that is present at birth, including moles and birthmarks.
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Any localized area of pigmentation or vascularization of the skin or eye tissues, usually benign and congenital. Note: also spelt nevus. Plural: naevi.
choroidal naevus A benign accumulation of melanocytes in the choroid. It affects some 10% of the population. Ophthalmoscopically it appears as a slate-grey lesion, flat or minimally elevated, oval or circular. It is asymptomatic. With time drusen may also appear. See melanocyte; choroidal melanoma.
conjunctival naevus A naevus located on the conjunctiva, most often near the limbus. It appears as a yellowish-red area or deeply pigmented mass usually before the age of 20. A pigmented conjunctival naevus must be distinguished from an acquired melanoma of the conjunctiva which occurs later in life (after the third decade, is typically unilateral and may become malignant). A conjunctival naevus rarely becomes malignant. It can be excised if cosmetically undesirable or has enlarged to such a degree as to irritate the eye.
flammeus naevus See Sturge- Weber syndrome.
iris naevus A pigmented spot of variable size on the surface of the iris. It is composed of an accumulation of melanocytes in the iris stroma. It is usually benign but occasionally it may transform itself into a malignant melanoma. See melanocyte; iris melanoma; ICE syndrome.
naevus of Ota A benign, congenital, usually unilateral, accumulation of melanocytes on the cheek, eyelids, forehead, nose or sclera. Some naevi may become malignant melanoma. Syn. oculocutaneous melanosis; oculodermal melanocytosis. See ocular melanocytosis; melanosis.
Millodot: Dictionary of Optometry and Visual Science, 7th edition. © 2009 Butterworth-Heinemann


, pl. nevi (nē'vŭs, -vī)
Circumscribed dermal malformation, especially if hyperpigmented or with increased vascularity; may be predominantly epidermal, adnexal, melanocytic, vascular, or mesodermal, or a composite.
Synonym(s): naevus
[L. naevus, mole, birthmark]
Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012