Laser Applications


What is a birthmark?

Birthmark (wine stain, port wine stain) is a vascular anomaly seen in 0.3% of newborns. A birthmark most often begins as a pink to purple skin spot on the neck or face. But it can also occur in the body.

When does the birthmark appear?

These spots are usually present at birth. As the child grows, the stain also grows. A wine stain type birthmark never regresses. Over time, its color darkens and its thickness increases. After the age of 40, in 65% of cases, these lesions may thicken and become lumps. There is a risk of bleeding spontaneously or with trauma.

What causes birthmark?

The cause of the birthmark is unknown. Birthmark is not a genetic disease.

What diseases can a birthmark be confused with?

It is necessary to distinguish birthmark lesions from hemangiomas. Hemangiomas are benign vascular tumors of childhood. It can be seen in 2-3% of newborns, 12% of newborns up to the age of 1, and 22% of preterm babies. The female male ratio is 3:1. With their rapid growth, hemangiomas are separated from the birthmark. It initially appears as a white or pink spot. It begins to grow rapidly in the first year of life. Bleeding and infection may occur in some patients. Hemangiomas close to the eyes and respiratory tract can grow and cause problems. Hemangiomas decrease in growth rate towards 1 year of age. It completes the regression period between the ages of 5-12. Hemangiomas can regress completely. After the hemangiomas regress, scars or stains may remain in 50% of people.

How is birthmark treatment done?

Birthmarks can be removed with laser treatments. The principle of treatment is to capture the blood cells passing through the vessels forming the stain with laser light. Thus, the vein is damaged by the effect of heat inside the vein. After a while, the vein disappears and thus the stain begins to fade in each session. The characteristic of laser treatments is that while affecting target cells, they do not affect other cells. Thus, lasers probably create the possibility of performing scarless treatment.

What are the lasers used in birthmark treatment?

  • Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL)
  • KTP Laser
  • Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
  • Long Pulsed ND:YAG Laser

The most effective laser, which is the most widely used in the treatment of birthmarks, is the pulse dye laser. Long Pulsed ND:YAG laser, which has the feature of descending into deeper tissues, can be added to the treatment in deeply located and raised birthmarks. IPL is a light system and can be tried in situations where other lasers are not effective.

How often and how many sessions should laser birthmark treatment be done?

Birthmark laser treatments are performed at intervals of 4-8 weeks. The number of sessions (average 5-15 sessions) in birthmarks may vary from person to person.

How do birthmarks go away?

Birthmark laser responses depend on the size of the complaint, its anatomical location, and the width of the vessels. Birthmarks on the head and neck, located near the forehead and cheeks, respond well to treatment. Treatment responses are slow in locations close to the middle of the face. Those with arms and legs have a more difficult response than those on the trunk. Treatment of birthmarks located close to the ends of the arm and leg can be difficult. Smaller birthmarks heal faster than larger ones. The color of the birthmark is also important. The pink-colored birthmark consists of small vessels, and the purple-colored birthmark consists of large vessels. Those in red indicate that more vessels are located closer to the surface. The red color birthmark treatment response is the best.

When should birthmark treatment be started?

Starting birthmark laser treatments at an early age reduces the number of sessions. Because the skin is thin and the birthmark area is small, laser treatment is more effective. Successful treatments can also be performed in adults, but the number of sessions may increase.

What should I expect after birthmark laser treatment?

Temporary bruising and edema may occur on the skin for 5-15 days after Pulse Dye laser. In other laser applications, redness and edema may occur. Such side effects are temporary. 1-2 months after each treatment, the color of the stain should lighten. When the staining stops, the efficiency can be increased by changing the type of laser. Care should be taken in laser treatments in those with very dark skin color. Sunscreen should be used after laser treatment.

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