Although most birthmarks are benign or do not pose any serious threat to the health of those who have it, many patients seek birthmark removal for aesthetic and psychological reasons. Laser birthmark removal is a swift and efficient way to lighten or completely remove birthmarks of various shapes and sizes.
Laser Birthmark Removal Technology
With the advent of laser surgery, birthmarks can now be removed almost painlessly and swiftly. Laser birthmark removal treatments have been proven to minimize and completely remove birthmarks, according to one presentation at the American Academy of Dermatology’s annual meeting. Not only can laser birthmark removal treatments improve the appearance of the child or adult who seeks such treatment, the treatment improves the self-esteem and quality of life of the patient as well. [Medscape]
What To Expect From Different Kinds of Laser Birthmark Removal Treatments
In general, all laser birthmark removal procedures are generally outpatient procedures, and only take a few minutes to complete for small marks, while larger marks may take a an hour to treat. This does not mean however that the birthmarks will be completely erased following their exposure to the laser treatments, as some marks require repeated treatments in order to even out of disappear.
Q-switched lasers, which include the Q-switched ruby and Q-switched Nd:YAG procedures have been effective in treating pigmented birthmarks like café au lait spots and moles or nevi.
Immediately Following Procedure: Q-switched laser treatments cause the treatment spot to turn white immediately following the procedure. It may darken over the next week then gradually lighten in the weeks following.
Expected Results: Multiple treatments are necessary to achieve desired results. Epidermal nevi are extremely responsive to laser treatments. Nevus ota can usually be resolved in three to four treatments spaced a few months apart. Café au lait spots do not respond as well to laser treatment. Results will vary.
Pulsed Dye Laser
Port wine stains were difficult to treat in the past. Today however, there is the pulsed dye laser birthmark removal treatment, which was created in order to treat port wine stains. The pulsed dye laser has also proven effective for hemangiomas.
Immediately Following Procedure: Pulsed dye laser treatments cause the birthmark site to turn purple/gray, which generally lasts up to two weeks.
Expected Results: 78% of patients who were tested for the efficacy of the pulsed dye laser procedure were shown to have improvements of up to 50% in terms of fading of their birthmarks. [Medical Journal of Australia]
Multiple treatments spaced several months apart are generally necessary to achieve desired results.
Factors Dictating Laser Birthmark Removal Success
As with any procedure, the success of laser birthmark removal is dependent on several factors including type of birthmark, size, and where the birthmark is located. For example, a birthmark that is located on the head and neck is generally most responsive to treatment while the upper lip and cheek are to a lesser extent. The legs are generally resistant to laser therapy. . [Medscape]
“Children With Birthmarks Benefit From New Laser Surgery Treatments.” Medscape Medical News. N.p., 20 Oct. 20. Web. 04 May 2016.
Laser Birthmark Removal.” A 2 Z of Health and Beauty. Web. 15 Dec. 2010. http://health.learninginfo.org/laser-birthmark-removal.htm.
Tan, Ernest, and Carl Vinciullo. “Pulsed Dye Laser Treatment of Port-Wine Stains.” Medical Journal of Australia 164.6 (1995): 333. print