(Atypical nevi, Clark’s nevi, nevi with disordered architecture and cytologic atypia) are a subgroup of nevi which have an irregular outline, variable pigmentation, indistinct borders, and can be larger than 6mm in diameter. Often described as having a “fried-egg” appearance, they typically have a dome-shaped central brown papular component surrounded by a flatter zone of light brown or tan pigmentation.
Dysplastic Nevi show disordered histological architecture, typified by less circumscription of the nevus cell nests and extension of the junctional nests beyond the intradermal component. Dysplastic nevi also show an increased number of single melanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis; pleomorphism of cells; and nests that vary in size, shape, and spacing. The upper dermis usually shows fibrosis and contains a host response of lymphocytes.
When multiple dysplastic nevi are present in a patient with a family history of melanoma, they herald an increased risk for the development of melanoma in that patient. The presence of a single or few dysplastic nevi outside the context of a family history of melanoma may or may not portend an increased risk for that patient.