Birthmarks

What are the different types of birthmarks ?

Birthmarks can be categorized as either vascular birthmarks (red or purple) or pigmented birthmarks (brown or blue/gray). Pigmented birthmarks should be distinguished from moles (see the section on "Moles"). 

There are many kinds of vascular birthmarks. Port wine stains are usually found on the face or scalp; they are flat and faint early in life, but gradually become darker and thicker in adulthood. Hemangiomas, another kind of vascular birthmark, appear as raised bright red/purple lesions. Hemangiomas grow rapidly during infancy and usually regress spontaneously during childhood.

Pigmented birthm arks vary in color, depending on the location of the pigment. In general, brown birthmarks contain pigment in the top layers of the skin, while blue or grey birthmarks contain pigment deeper in the skin. 

What are the treatment options ?

Vascular birthmarks can be treated with a KTP laser or a pulsed dye laser. Response to treatment depends upon the thickness of or blood flow within these lesions. 

Some pigmented birthmarks (i.e. "cafe au lait macules") can be treated with lasers that target brown pigment, such as the Q-switched ruby laser, the alexandrite laser, or the Nd:YAG laser. The choice of laser depends upon the depth of the pigment. A consultation to determine the best treatment approach may be necessary.

How many treatments are necessary ?

Some vascular birthmarks, especially port wine stains, will require multiple treatments. A consultation may be required to determine the best treatment approach. It is common to require repeated treatments for pigmented birthmarks. 

What will I look like immediately after surgery ? What is the healing time ?

Surgery on vascular birthmarks results in some redness and swelling occurring after treatment and generally lasts a day or two. The pulsed dye laser leaves deep bruising that takes two weeks to fade. Treatment of pigmented birthmarks usually results in mild crusting, which heals in five to 10 days. There may also be some temporary skin discoloration following this treatment.

What are the costs involved ?

Costs range varies on certain factors.Dr.Khanna can provide you with a cost range during the consultaion after due assessment of the patient. For the pigmented birthmarks the choice of laser depends upo n the depth of the pigment, and a consultation to determine the best treatment approach may be necessary. 

What treatments are considered medically necessary vs. cosmetic ?

Some treatments are covered by medical insurance, particularly if the lesions have a tendency to break down or bleed.

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