Salmon Patch

September 14, 2005
Alexander K. C. Leung, MD

,
C. Pion Kao, MD

This 7-month-old infant had light red macules on the glabella that were first noted at birth. By the time the child was 2 years old, the lesions were only faintly visible.

This 7-month-old infant had light red macules on the glabella that were first noted at birth. By the time the child was 2 years old, the lesions were only faintly visible.

These are salmon patches, a type of nevus flammeus. The lesions consist of ectatic dermal capillaries that represent the persistence of fetal circulatory patterns in the skin. The lesions are flat and can be totally blanched; they are scarlet to pink and usually deepen in color with vigorous activity or changes in ambient temperature.

Salmon patches are commonly seen on the eyelids, glabella, and occipital areas of newborn infants. The lesions on the forehead are known colloquially as “angel's kisses” and the ones in the occipital area as “stork-bite marks.”

Approximately 40% to 50% of white infants have salmon patches in the neonatal period. The patches tend to fade with time and are rare after the age of 6 years.

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