Birthmarks & Vascular Lesions

What is it?

Vascular Anomalies consist of various congenital lesions ranging from simple skin discolorations to large devastating vascular malformations. Overall, birthmarks are seen in well above half of the population. There are many different kinds of birthmarks and they can be any size, shape, or even color. They can be flat or raised and may be a wide variety of colors. The most common types of vascular birthmarks are macular stains, hemangiomas, and port-wine stains.

  • Macular Stains. Macular stains are thin, flat, light pink or red birthmarks. They tend to be on the back of the neck, the upper eyelids, upper lip, or between the eyebrows.
  • Congenital Moles (nevi). Congenital moles can grow anywhere on the body. They vary in size and shape and most are brown in color. They are first biopsied to ensure no malignancy. They are then treated with laser such as Medlite or Sellas.
  • Café-au-lait Spots. These hyperpigmented lesions or spots are smooth, oval birthmarks. They range in color from light brown to chocolate brown and usually are found on the torso, buttocks, and legs.
  • Mongolian Spots. Mongolian spots are smooth, blue or blue-gray birthmarks. They are often uneven in shape and are on the lower back and buttocks.
  • Hemangiomas. Hemangiomas are raised birthmarks. They are blue, red, or purple. They are clumps of blood vessels that did not grow normally. Hemangiomas grow in many shapes, sizes and can grow on the skin or deeper in the body.
  • Port-wine Stains. Port-wine stains are birthmarks that are pink-red at birth and then become a darker red-purple. Port-wine stains are blood vessels that did not grow normally. They can be small, or they can cover a large area of the body.
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What are the causes of birthmarks?

Some birthmarks are made up of blood vessels that are bunched together while others are from extra pigment in the skin. The cause of birthmarks is almost always genetic.

What are the treatments?

Many birthmarks that appear at birth will fade over time on their own, however there are those that may remain in an open area of the body causing one to feel awkward about their appearance. In less common cases there are vascular anomalies that will require treatment because of the significant discomfort, associated infections and/or anatomical disconfiguration caused by the malformation or growth.

Both pigmented and non-pigmented birthmarks and vascular lesions can be treated with a variety of laser therapy such as: VBeam, Revlite, GentleYag, SellasFX or Ellipse IPL treatment. The procedure is safe and easy. The light emitted by the laser is absorbed by the lesions. This causes them to disburse under the skin’s surface. Pigmented lesions such as moles might be biopsied or excised depending on their size and pigmentation to ensure that there are no possible signs of melanoma, or skin cancer.