Adult, Pediatric & Cosmetic Dermatology, Laser & Skin Surgery | Tucson, AZ | Botox
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Red Vascular Birthmark

Picture of baby with prominent hemangioma
Also Known as: Vascular Birth Marks, Port Wine Stain (PWS), Hemangioma, Strawberry Hemangioma

Conditions Treated:
The two primary types of red birthmarks treated are the Hemangioma and the Port Wine Stain. The more common of the two is the Hemangioma which affects 10% of newborns in the first weeks of life. The Port Wine Stain occurs in about 3 out of 1,000 newborns and is present at birth.

Treatment Overview for a Hemangioma:

While close observation is usually adequate in lesions of the face and neck or in non-critical areas, treatment with topical, oral or injected steroid is often the most immediately effective treatment.

There are side effects to steroids that are significant and therefore the goal is to treat for as short a time and at the lowest dose necessary to avoid complication.

Other treatments such as the Pulsed Dye Laser can be used to change or arrest the growth pattern, and usually will decrease the ultimate size of the lesion. The Laser treatments allow a more rapid shrinkage, and enable us to use a lower and/or shorter course of steroid therapy. These treatments can be done together in a complementary manner. Often the treatments are at approximate 2-6 week intervals with several treatments usually required for optimal improvement, during the rapid growth phase in critical areas of concern. The Pulsed Dye Laser is most useful in treating residual dilated blood vessels, or remodeling scar, following regression of the Hemangioma.

Treatment Overview for a Port Wine Stain
Before and After Images
The Pulsed Dye Laser (Candela Perfecta Laser) is the "Gold Standard" for PWS treatment and offers several distinctive advantages over other systems. It was specially designed for treatment of the PWS, and for other skin lesions with prominent red blood vessels. This Laser can often be used without anesthesia, has a very low risk of scarring, and is safe and effective for use in infants, children and adults.

The Vbeam Perfecta comes equipped with a synchronized dynamic cooling device to protect the skin surface so that higher energies can be delivered to the skin safely and also to minimize pain with treatment. In addition, this Laser has the capacity to deliver longer pulses to allow the energy more effectively to heat and destroy larger vessel targets and also to treat the skin without bruising. The Vbeam has a slightly longer wavelength as well as larger spot sizes, which allow deeper Laser penetration, and has higher energies to more effectively, remove and lighten the vessel targets.

Procedure Overview

A brief, bright flash of light occurs and the skin site treated will immediately develop a purple spot about a 1/2 inch in diameter.  The skin stings for a few seconds as if you have been snapped by a rubber band, and will itch for several minutes.  The purple spots will last for 7 to 10 days, and then the spots treated become increasingly red for 10 more days.  At about one month, the treated site begins to fade and will continue to lighten for 2 to 3, months after which clearing can be seen and evaluated. 

In most cases, depending on the size of the lesion, the entire lesion can be treated at each visit.  Most treatment sessions last 15-30 minutes which is usually sufficient time to treat a palm sized area or greater depending on lesion location and patient cooperation.

Pre / Post Treatment
It is essential that the skin over the PWS to be treated be as pale as possible prior to treatment. Broad-spectrum Sunscreens (SPF 30 or higher) need to be applied routinely before and after therapy.  Postoperative care is simple and requires that you not rub or create any friction over the area.  The treated area should be cleaned with gentle soap and water followed with  the application of an antibacterial ointment such as Polysporin ointment two to three times daily for the first seven to ten days after therapy.


Before and Afters

Port Wine Stain Before and After
Red Vascular Birthmark Before
Hemangioma Before and After
Red Vascular Birthmark Before