A birthmark is a splotch on our skin, which can appear in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. While some birthmarks are small and inconspicuous, others have a more prominent appearance, which can be bothersome to some, and can even lower their self-esteem. In some cases, certain types of birthmarks can become a health risk. Some birthmarks do fade or completely disappear over time, however, there are others that will never fade or go away. Birthmark removal offers a solution to people who are self-conscious about their appearance and even help reduce the possibility of health risks associated with certain moles.
With the increasing popularity of various cosmetic surgery procedures, including birthmark removal, it is important that the prospective patient research and understand different issues like what the procedure can and cannot treat inherent risks, costs, and other factors. Keep in mind, cosmetic surgery is just that – a surgical procedure whose results cannot simply be erased. While the information contained in this website will provide you with a good introduction to birthmark removal, when considering this or any other cosmetic procedure, we recommend that you consult a qualified provider with significant experience.
Birthmark Removal Procedure
There are different ways that a birthmark can be removed, depending upon its type, size, location and other factors.
Laser therapy: Lasers are used to treat birthmarks that are close to the surface of the skin, such as port-wine stains. This method can be performed at any age. During treatment, short bursts of laser light are aimed at the birthmark in order to shrink it or cause it to stop growing. Multiple visits may be necessary to achieve optimal results.
Laser therapy may also be used for hemangioma, however it is not used to treat cases where it is found on an internal organ, or deep within the skin.
Surgery: This method is used when other non-surgical treatments have not worked. A hemangioma that is large, or found on an internal organ also requires surgery and general anesthesia.
For laser therapy, patients may feel mild pain, like a rubber band snapping at the skin. Some experience a transient, mild burning sensation. An anesthetic may be given to those people sensitive to pain.
Post Birthmark Removal Impacts
After undergoing laser therapy, the treated skin becomes dark purple. This should only last about seven to ten days and disappear soon after. However in some cases, it can take six to eight weeks for the purple area to completely disappear.
Following treatment, it is recommended that patients do not scratch the treated area. It is also important to stay out of the sun while healing. When in the sun, patients should use sunscreen. The healing process takes about six weeks after treatment; during that time, the results of the procedure should become more evident. For children that undergo a birthmark removal, parents should make sure they follow the doctor’s post-op instructions.
Risks of Birthmark Removal
Surgical removal of birthmarks carries the same risks associated with any surgical procedure. This includes bleeding, infection and scarring. If a scar is left, other treatments like skin grafts may be used to correct this condition. This also applies to large hemangiomas removed from the body. If general anesthesia is used, an allergic reaction to the anesthesia is also a risk.