Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form anywhere in the nervous system and the skin. Diagnosis of the disease usually occurs in childhood or young adults. There are three different types of neurofibromatosis. Types 1 and 2 are hereditary. Symptoms of neurofibromatosis can be present at birth, or they may become evident early in childhood. Although neurofibromatosis is a multisystem disorder that requires management by a multidisciplinary team of health specialists, the dermatologist has the primary role in recognizing and differentiating NF from other conditions and suggesting appropriate referrals and management.
Skin lesions have smooth borders and can be a range of colors from tan to dark brown. While many people may have these lesions, seeing more than six of them on a child can indicate NF1. On children, look for spots that are bigger than 5 mm at their widest point. On teenagers, look for spots larger than 15 mm.
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