Laser Treatment for Pediatric Vascular Birthmarks is used to remove or minimize a variety of birthmarks that might harm a child’s development or wellbeing as they grow. This treatment is performed by a licensed and experienced physician and is completely safe for children of all ages.
Birthmarks are a common condition that are usually visible from birth. In fact, nearly one in every 10 babies is born with a birthmark. Some birthmarks are caused by irregular pigmentation in the skin, but vascular birthmarks are caused by blood vessels that formed incorrectly in the skin.
Though many vascular birthmarks are not harmful, they may affect the child’s confidence and self-esteem as they grow. You and your doctor may also decide to remove a large or deep vascular birthmark before it can create complications for their health.
During the laser treatment, the dermatologist uses either a pulsed dye laser or vascular laser to send beams of light into the child’s birthmark. As the cells absorb the light, it heats and destroys the malformed blood vessels that cause the birthmark. For darker birthmarks, the treatment can also reduce the amount of melanin in the skin to lighten the area. Though the laser destroys the unwanted blood vessels, it doesn’t harm the surrounding skin.
Common vascular birthmarks that can benefit from laser treatments include:
Dermatologists typically treat birthmarks that may cause medical or psychological harm as the child ages. To prevent any issues, vascular birthmarks are often treated before the child starts school and often when they are still babies.
First, your child’s dermatologist will examine the birthmarks to determine the best treatment plan. During the laser therapy appointment, your child may experience slight pain, similar to small flicks to the skin. Your doctor may prescribe mild sedation or an anesthetic cream to minimize discomfort. Most laser treatment sessions last between 15 minutes and an hour, depending on the severity and number of birthmarks. If additional treatment is necessary, your dermatologist may schedule additional appointments at four-week intervals.
After treatment, the treated skin may be bruised, swollen, sore, or blistered. Your dermatologist will provide information on pain relief, which will likely include ice packs, medication, and/or ointment. You will also need to protect the treated area from direct sunlight following the procedure.