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Doctor insights on: Cafe Au Lait Spots

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Dr. Brian Labow
23 doctors shared insights

Cafe Au Lait Spots (Overview)

Literally french for "coffee with milk" these spots look like irregularly shaped large flat light tan moles. Their significance increases if you have more than 6 before puberty as it can be a sign of a condition called "neurofibromatosis".


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What does having cafe-au-lait spots signal?

What does having cafe-au-lait spots signal?

Coffee spot: These are flat, well defined pigment patches that may not be evident at birth. A few <6 and < 1cm size at puberty are likely unimportant.They are common in the general population as benign but permanent findings. In greater numbers and larger size they may indicate a form of neurofibromatosis (there are several). Your dr can sort out your specific issue with after an exam & family history. ...Read more

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Dr. Brian Labow
23 doctors shared insights

Cafe Au Lait Spots (Overview)

Literally french for "coffee with milk" these spots look like irregularly shaped large flat light tan moles. Their significance increases if you have more than 6 before puberty as it can be a sign of a condition called "neurofibromatosis".


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What are cafe au lait spots and how treated?

What are cafe au lait spots and how treated?

Cafe au lait: Café au lait macules are observed in 95% of patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (nf1), which is the most frequently occurring neurocutaneous syndrome. These spots may also be observed in patients without nf1. Other conditions in which they may be observed include mccune-albright syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, and fanconi anemia. ...Read more

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Easy way to get rid of my cafe au lait birthmark?

Easy way to get rid of my cafe au lait birthmark?

Need evaluation: You need to discuss with your doctor any family history of inherited disorders as cafe au lait birthmarks may be a marker of neurofibromatosis. ...Read more

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What the percentage of person who has cafe au lait spots gets neurofibromatosis?

What the percentage of person who has cafe au lait spots gets neurofibromatosis?

Number of spots: Many people who do not have nf have a few café-au-lait spots . If a young child has five or more, at least ½ inch or 15 mm in size post puberty lookfor other signs such as neurofibromas — tumors along skin and lisch nodules, tiny, noncancerous tumors on the iris (the colored part of the eye). Consult physician to better assess individual signs for diagnosis. ...Read more

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Did my daughter get cafe-au-lait spots from me?

Did my daughter get cafe-au-lait spots from me?

Depends: Cafe-au-lait spots are not contagious but may be inherited. Please discuss with your doctor as such marks may be a marker of systemic inherited abnormality. ...Read more

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My son has two cafe au lait spots and possible epilepsy (nocturnal seizures). Doctor mentioned genetic disorder. Is it possible?

My son has two cafe au lait spots and possible epilepsy (nocturnal seizures). Doctor mentioned genetic disorder. Is it possible?

Yes, it is possible: Whenever a child has more than one thing going on, or one thing (e.g. Seizures) and additional physical findings (e.g. Cafe au lait spots) the possibility of a genetic condition behind findings increases. Both seizures and cafe au lait spots separately are relatively common. Combination increases, but does not diagnose, a genetic cause. I would recommend formal evaluation by a clinical geneticist. ...Read more

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Did my daughter get cafe-au-lait spots from me?

Depends: Cafe-au-lait spots are not contagious but may be inherited. Please discuss with your doctor as such marks may be a marker of systemic inherited abnormality. ...Read more

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My baby developed several cafe au lait spots right after birth. 9 mon now & has about 10, 2 large ones..Early sign of a medical problem?

My baby developed several cafe au lait spots right after birth. 9 mon now & has about 10, 2 large ones..Early sign of a medical problem?

Possibly: That many cafe au lait spots measuring at least 1.5cm in size suggests neurofibromatosis.This condition can have lifelong implications.I would bring the issue up with your doc at the next regular visit. ...Read more

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I have three cafe au lait spots measuring about 1-2cm max. I have another 2 that are about 5mm max. No other nf1 signs and am 25. Is this nf1?

I have three cafe au lait spots measuring about 1-2cm max. I have another 2 that are about 5mm max. No other nf1 signs and am 25. Is this nf1?

Unlikely: According to diagnostic criteria for nf1 at least 2 of the following clinical features must be present in order to make diagnosis (for your age group): >5 cals (>15mm in diameter), >1 neurofibroma, freckling in axillary or groin area, optic glioma, >1 lisch nodule, a distinctive bony lesion, a 1st degree relative with nf1 according to the above criteria. Diagnosis may be confirmed by genetic test. ...Read more

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I have three cafe au lait spots ranging from 1-3cm.They are very hard to see. I just found one today. No other nf1 symptoms. Could this still be nf1?

Unlikely: Unlikely because of not enough spots.There are different definition, but 6 or more sports greater than 1/4 inch size is a standard.So not probable. ...Read more

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What does having cafe-au-lait spots signal?

Coffee spot: These are flat, well defined pigment patches that may not be evident at birth. A few <6 and < 1cm size at puberty are likely unimportant.They are common in the general population as benign but permanent findings. In greater numbers and larger size they may indicate a form of neurofibromatosis (there are several). Your dr can sort out your specific issue with after an exam & family history. ...Read more

See 1 more doctor answer
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What are cafe au lait spots and how treated?

Cafe au lait: Café au lait macules are observed in 95% of patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (nf1), which is the most frequently occurring neurocutaneous syndrome. These spots may also be observed in patients without nf1. Other conditions in which they may be observed include mccune-albright syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, and fanconi anemia. ...Read more

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I have three cafe au lait spots-- is it normal?

I have three cafe au lait spots-- is it normal?

Cafe au lait spots: Café au lait spots are benign and do not cause any ailment themselves. They can be treated by laser. Having more than six spots or large spots is associated with other potentially important illnesses so check with your doctor if you have many of them. ...Read more

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What is the definition or description of: cafe au lait spots?

What is the definition or description of: cafe au lait spots?

Tan skin lesions: Literally french for "coffee with milk" these spots look like irregularly shaped large flat light tan moles. Their significance increases if you have more than 6 before puberty as it can be a sign of a condition called "neurofibromatosis". ...Read more

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Can tattoos hide my cafe au lait spots?

Can tattoos hide my cafe au lait spots?

Possibly: It depends. If you are going to get some ornamental tattoo then it could possibly hide your spots. However, if you are considering tattooing your spots individually to "fill them in" then, technically yes, it might work. The trouble will be in getting the tattoo ink to match your skin color. And when your skin tans (if you tend to tan) the tattoos will not darken. Hope this helps. ...Read more

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Baby with many cafe au lait spots. Is it neurofibromatosis?

Baby with many cafe au lait spots. Is it neurofibromatosis?

Number and size: Symptoms of nf1 may be seen at birth and may include light brown sports, six or more measuring 5 mm in greatest diameter in prepubertal individuals and over 15 mm in greatest diameter in postpubertal individuals.Two or more growths on the iris of the eye, a tumor of optic nerve, , development of two or more subcut. Nodules, neurofibromas and bone abnormalities of tibia, skull, and spine. ...Read more

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What the percentage of person who has cafe au lait spots gets neurofibromatosis?

Number of spots: Many people who do not have nf have a few café-au-lait spots . If a young child has five or more, at least ½ inch or 15 mm in size post puberty lookfor other signs such as neurofibromas — tumors along skin and lisch nodules, tiny, noncancerous tumors on the iris (the colored part of the eye). Consult physician to better assess individual signs for diagnosis. ...Read more

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Help! Is it possible to have a lot of cafe au lait spots and not have neurofibromatosis?

Possible: NIH diagnostic criteria for NF1 with two or more of following features:1)6 or more café-au-lait macules over 5 mm in diameter prepubertal individuals over 15 mm in greatest diameter in postpubertal..2) 2or more neurofibromas or one plexiform neurofibroma.3)Freckling in armpit or groin areas4)Optic glioma (optic nerve tumor)5) > 2 Lisch nodules(iris of eye)6)typical bone lesions 7)1deg relative nf1 ...Read more

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If 1 year old baby has three cafe au lait spots, does this mean nf1? How likely is it that he'll get more?

If 1 year old baby has three cafe au lait spots, does this mean nf1? How likely is it that he'll get more?

Not necessarily: Many people who do not have nf have a few café-au-lait spots . Usually start appearing in infancy.If a young child has five or more, at least ½ inch or 15 mm in size post puberty look for other signs such as neurofibromas — tumors along skin and lisch nodules, tiny, noncancerous tumors on the iris (the colored part of the eye). Consult physician to better assess individual signs for diagnosis. ...Read more

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I have always had many/large cafe au lait spots. Recently, similar irregular shaped pigment is appearing in new areas and darker/larger? Worried?

 I have always had many/large cafe au lait spots. Recently, similar irregular shaped pigment is appearing in new areas and darker/larger? Worried?

See derm: With any change is shape/size/irregular borders, new lesions showing up, it is best to see the Dermatologist and get a good skin evaluation so your worries are alleviated by knowing you are being taken care of by the best doctor to do so. good luck. ...Read more

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Can you grow pimples on cafe au lait spots?

Can you grow pimples on cafe au lait spots?

CAFE AU LAIT PIMPLES: IT'S POSSIBLE TO DEVELOP A PIMPLE, OR PIMPLES, ON CAFE AU LAIT SPOT(S). ...Read more

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My son had 2 seizures and has cafe au lait spots, could this be neurofibromatosis?

My son had 2 seizures and has cafe au lait spots, could this be neurofibromatosis?

Variable: Nf is very variable in expression and progression.Nf1 can affect the skin(neurofibromas, cafe au lait spots) , eyes( gliomas), bones( scoliosis and pseudarthrosis)nerves with neurofibromas, and a person's general constitution (adhd and mental retardation).More severe cases are usually detected earlier in life.Brain areas of dysplasia or tumor can occur.Neurologist and possible mr of brain suggested. ...Read more

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My son had 2 seizures and has cafe au lait spots. Could this be from neurofibromatosis?

My son had 2 seizures and has cafe au lait spots. Could this be from neurofibromatosis?

Maybe,maybe not: NF patients are at risk of seizures, as are any other kid. I would discuss the matter with your doc, with more data about the time, length, type ,frequency and other features.With enough data, your doc may help you8 sort that out. ...Read more

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Is it possible for misdiagnosed? I have nf1 geneticly and TSC because have cafe au lait spots TSC doesn't run in family how did I get it?

Is it possible for misdiagnosed? I have nf1 geneticly and TSC  because have cafe au lait spots TSC doesn't run in family how did I get it?

Mutation: You can acquire many genetically inherited illnesses by spontaneous mutation in utero, or when the baby is developing inside mom during the pregnancy. This is a force of nature that is recignized by many Geneticists ...Read more

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Mother had unilateral acoustic neuroma at 34, I have 4 small cafe au lait spots and my son has 2 small ones. Mother doesn't have any. Nf1?

Mother had unilateral acoustic neuroma at 34, I have 4 small cafe au lait spots and my son has 2 small ones. Mother doesn't have any. Nf1?

?Von Recklinghausen': Probably, some hereditary component here, and sounds like incomplete penetrance. This, however, can be blood tested and confirmed or disconfirmed, so not a bad idea to get a clear fix on risk factors. However, possibility of future acoustic neuromas in other family members is low statistically. ...Read more

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My mom had an acoustic neuroma removed at 35- unilateral. She's 60 now without another one or any other tumors. We both have a few small cafe au lait spots- under 1.5 cm. Does this sound like nf2?

Unclear, but...: What you have noted would not indicate the diagnosis, since there are specific criteria for the neurofibromatosis diagnosis. You should consult your local doctor who can do a complete physical examination and history for further assessment.. ...Read more

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My son has two cafe au lait spots and possible epilepsy (nocturnal seizures). Doctor mentioned genetic disorder. Is it possible?

Yes, it is possible: Whenever a child has more than one thing going on, or one thing (e.g. Seizures) and additional physical findings (e.g. Cafe au lait spots) the possibility of a genetic condition behind findings increases. Both seizures and cafe au lait spots separately are relatively common. Combination increases, but does not diagnose, a genetic cause. I would recommend formal evaluation by a clinical geneticist. ...Read more

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