Photo Rounds

Red area on back of scalp

During a well-child checkup, the family physician (FP) noted an area of redness on a one-year-old’s posterior scalp. The mother stated that her daughter was born with it, but didn’t know what it was. She didn't think it caused the child any pain or itching. The remainder of the visit was uneventful and the child received her one-year vaccinations.

What's your diagnosis?


The FP recognized that the young patient had a salmon patch (a variant of nevus flammeus or port-wine stain) on her neck. The mark is often referred to as a “stork bite” and is not dangerous. (Parents often see the humor in the idea that this is where the stork held the child while delivering the baby to the parents.) These vascular malformations are not the same as hemangiomas.

Superficial capillary malformations are frequently seen in infants above the eyelids and on the nape of the neck. “Angel kisses” (salmon patches on the eyelids) usually disappear by 2 years of age. The “stork bites” may last into adulthood, but are rarely an issue because they often get covered by hair.

Photos and text for Photo Rounds Friday courtesy of Richard P. Usatine, MD. This case was adapted from: Usatine R, Madhukar M. Childhood hemangiomas and vascular malformations. In: Usatine R, Smith M, Mayeaux EJ, et al, eds. Color Atlas of Family Medicine. 2nd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2013:636-641.

To learn more about the Color Atlas of Family Medicine, see:

You can now get the second edition of the Color Atlas of Family Medicine as an app by clicking on this link:

Next Article: