Vascular Birthmarks

Dr. Ira Shah
Consultant Pediatrician, B.J.Wadia Hospital for Children, Mumbai, India
First Created: 01/01/2001  Last Updated: 08/01/2015

Patient Education

What are vascular birthmarks?

There are certain birthmarks that are present due to blood vessel abnormality. Some of them such as strawberry hemangiomas fade away with time whereas some of them such as a Portwine stain may become larger over a period of time.

Strawberry hemangioma:

They are enlarged blood vessels that appear as reddish nodules over the skin which grow rapidly after birth but often go away with time. The birthmark usually resolves by 5-6 years of age and does not require treatment. Some hemangiomas may occur near the eyes, mouth, some may get infected and bleed and need to be treated early. Treatment in such cases consists of laser therapy.

Portwine Stain:

This appears as a salmon pink patch at birth, which steadily becomes darker and larger over a period of time. This is also due to blood vessel abnormality. In mid-adulthood it may cause cosmetic disfigurement and if too large may lead to bleeding. Treatment consists of laser treatment.

Spider nevi:

Spider nevi are also enlarged blood vessels that contain a central large blood vessel with tiny vessels radiating from the center. They resemble small mosquito bites. They usually do not cause problems and treatment is required only for cosmetic reasons.

What is the laser treatment for such birthmarks?

Flash lamp dye laser is used to treat such vascular birthmarks. It treats the abnormal blood vessel without affecting the surrounding tissue leading to termination of lesion leaving the skin pigment intact with minimal scarring.

Treatment would vary from patient to patient depending on the type of birthmark, size of the affected area, the color of skin, and the depth of the abnormal vessels beneath the skin.

Is laser treatment safe in children?

Yes, it can even be used in infants who are a few weeks old.

Vascular Birthmarks Vascular Birthmarks 2015-08-01
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