Laser therapy works on
birthmarks that are close to the surface of the skin.
It commonly is used to lighten the appearance or reduce the bumpiness of
port-wine stains. And laser therapy is often used to treat hemangiomas,
especially those on the face. It is also used for hemangiomas that are bleeding or ulcerated.
Laser therapy for birthmarks can be an effective treatment. Ask
your doctor to show you photographs of birthmarks that have been treated and
photographs of birthmarks that have not been treated.
Laser therapy involves aiming short bursts of
laser light at the birthmark to lighten the colour of the birthmark, shrink the
birthmark, or cause it to stop growing.
Laser therapy can cause
pain. Young children may need to be given a
general anesthetic or other medicines so they do not
move during the treatment.
After laser therapy, the treated skin
becomes dark purple for about 7 to 10 days. After that time, the skin should
return to its normal colour. But the purple area sometimes can take 6 to 8 weeks
to completely disappear.
A child may need more than one treatment
with laser therapy, depending on his or her tolerance for the procedure and the
size of the birthmark.
Laser therapy for port-wine stains has better results when it is
done at a young age.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics