Pigmented Lesion Center

Our specialists created the Pediatric Pigmented Lesion Center at Lurie Children’s to provide the best possible care to children with complex pigmented lesions.

What Is a Pigmented Lesion?

The color in our skin is called melanin. The cells that make melanin are called melanocytes. Pigmented lesions are spots on the skin that are created by these melanocytes. There are many types of pigmented lesions seen in kids. These include:

  • Nevus (also called a mole)
  • Atypical nevus
  • Congenital nevus
  • Spitz nevus
  • Blue nevus
  • Dermal melanocytosis
  • Nevus of Ota
  • Nevus of Ito
  • Melanoma

Most moles in kids are healthy and don’t need any treatment. But some moles may need special care. Our Pigmented Lesion Center is here to serve children with moles that need specialized care and treatment.

The Lurie Children's Difference

The Pediatric Pigmented Lesion Center was created in 2019 to bring together experts from across our hospital to diagnose and treat children with pigmented lesions. We use the most updated research and techniques to provide the best possible care for children with a congenital nevus, Spitz nevus, Spitz tumor, or melanoma.

The Pigmented Lesion Center team also works together to further our understanding of pigmented lesions through clinical research.  

Conditions We Treat

The Pigmented Lesion Center treats patients aged 0-18 years with:

  • Congenital melanocytic nevus
  • Atypical nevus
  • Dysplastic nevus
  • Genetic predisposition to melanoma
  • Blue nevus
  • Dermal melanocytosis
  • Nevus of Ota and nevus of Ito
  • Atypical Spitz tumor
  • Spitz nevus
  • Bap1-inactivated melanocytic tumors (BAPoma)
  • Melanoma

Our Specialists

Lacey L. Kruse, MD

Dr. Kruse is the medical director of the Pediatric Pigmented Lesion Center. Dr. Kruse is a board-certified pediatric dermatologist with expertise in pigmented lesions. Her areas of interest include large and giant congenital nevi, Spitz nevi, Spitz tumors, and pediatric melanoma.

Annette Wagner, MD

Dr. Wagner is a pediatric dermatologic surgeon and board-certified pediatric dermatologist. She has a special interest in the medical and surgical care of pigmented lesions in children. Her areas of expertise include congenital nevi, Spitz nevi/tumors and pediatric melanoma.

Timothy Lautz, MD

Dr. Lautz is a pediatric general surgeon who specializes in the care of children with cancer, including pediatric melanoma. He has expertise in the surgical management of melanoma, including wide local excision and sentinel lymph node biopsy. Dr. Lautz collaborates with the multi-disciplinary team to provide optimal care for children with melanoma.

Noopur Gangopadhyay, MD

Dr. Gangopadhyay is a board-certified pediatric plastic surgeon with expertise in the surgical treatment of melanocytic lesions. Dr. Gangopadhyay collaborates with the pigmented lesion team to provide surgical treatment for children with congenital nevi, Spitz lesions and melanoma.

Pedram Gerami, MD

Dr. Gerami is a board-certified dermatopathologist with expertise in the histologic diagnosis of melanocytic lesions. He specializes in histologic and molecular diagnostic methods to optimize diagnostic accuracy in pediatric melanocytic tumors, particularly atypical nevi, Spitz nevi, Spitz tumors and melanoma.

Tracy S. Gertler, MD, PhD

Dr. Gertler is a pediatric neurologist and research neuroscientist with specific interest in neurogenetics. Her clinical focus includes children with germline genetic variants impacting the entire brain and nervous system (such as channelopathies), as well as somatic variants, where a subset of cells with a gene change result in neurocutaneous disease.

Elizabeth Sokol, MD

Dr. Sokol is a pediatric oncologist with expertise in caring for children with solid tumors, including pediatric melanoma.

Elizabeth Boerma, RN, and Carolyn Kiolbasa, RN, are nurses that support our team in caring for children with melanocytic lesions. They specialize in providing excellent clinical care, and in supporting families in coordination of care for children.

What to Expect

Our care team will work with you to identify and diagnose your child’s condition. We will put together a care team for your child that is tailored to your child’s specific needs. This may include a pediatric dermatologist, a pediatric surgeon, an oncologist, or a neurologist, depending on the condition and the needs of your specific child.

Make an Appointment

Scheduling for the Pigmented Lesion Center is available through the Division of Dermatology. Please call 312.227.6060 to make an appointment.  

Preparing for Your Appointment

To make the most of your visit to the Pigmented Lesion Center, we need to access your child’s previous records. This may include biopsy reports, imaging, labs or clinic notes.

Medical records can often be obtained by calling the clinic/hospital’s medical records department where your child has been seen. You can then request a release.

  • If your child is coming for a second opinion, please request any prior records and bring them to the appointment.
  • If a biopsy has been done, please bring the report from that and any other tests.
  • In some cases, we may recommend that the biopsy tissue be re-examined our dermatopathology team. If so, we will guide you in how to have the slides sent to our team.
  • If your child has had imaging such as an MRI, please bring the report to the appointment.