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December 7, 1963

Incidence of Pigmented Nevi

JAMA. 1963;186(10):890-893. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03710100028006

Routine excision of pigmented nevi in certain anatomic locations such as the palms and soles has been advocated as a prophylactic measure in the prevention of malignant melanoma. To determine the incidence and anatomic distribution of nevi on palms, soles, nailbeds, and conjunctivae, 1,000 randomly selected subjects were examined clinically. Over-all incidence of one or more plantar nevi was 9%; palmar nevi, 5.8%; and conjunctival nevi, 0.8%. No nevi were found in the nailbeds of white subjects. Greatest concentration of plantar nevi was in the arch region. Darker-skinned ethnic groups and male subjects showed the highest incidence. The incidence increased progressively in the first two decades of life, reached a peak in the third, and declined thereafter. Because of their frequency, it is concluded that routine excision of pigmented nevi on palms and soles is infeasible and unwarranted.