Melanin-associated pigmented lesions of the oral mucosa: presentation, differential diagnosis, and treatment

Susan Müller
Dermatologic Therapy 2010, 23 (3): 220-9
Intraoral pigmentation is quite common and has numerous etiologies, ranging from exogenous to physiological to neoplastic. Many pigmented lesions of the oral cavity are associated with melanin pigment. The differential diagnosis of mucosal pigmented lesions includes hematomas, varices, and petechiae which may appear to be pigmented. Unlike cutaneous melanomas, oral melanomas are diagnosed late and have a poor prognosis regardless of depth of invasion. As such, the clinical presentation and treatment of intraoral melanoma will be discussed. Developing a differential diagnosis is imperative for a clinician faced with these lesions in order to appropriately treat the patient. This article will focus on the most common oral melanocytic lesions, along with mimics.

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