Port Wine Stain
Vascular Lesion/Hemangioma/ Port Wine Stain
Laser Therapy for Hemangiomas, Vascular Lesions, and Port Wine Stains in New York
Laser therapy can effectively treat a wide range of vascular lesions, hemangiomas, and port-wine-stains. Common types of vascular lesions include spider veins, cherry angiomas (red spots), spider angiomas, and vascular birthmarks. A hemangioma is a bright red, benign vascular tumor that usually appears at or shortly after birth. Hemangiomas grow rapidly during a child’s first year, and then become smaller (involute) over time. Port wine stains are vascular malformations that are present at birth. Port wine stains may appear flat and pink at first, but often become darker, larger, and marked by irregular texture as the child matures. Unlike hemangiomas, port wine stains do not fade on their own.
How do lasers treat vascular lesions and hemangiomas?
Laser energy passes through the skin and is preferentially absorbed by the hemoglobin in the blood vessels within the vascular lesion or hemangioma. The heat from the laser damages the blood vessels without harming surrounding tissue.
Should I use laser therapy to treat my child’s hemangioma or port wine stain?
The decision to treat a hemangioma depends on the size, location, and severity of the tumor. Certain deep hemangiomas may cause physical problems and require prompt medication intervention. Small, superficial hemangiomas generally recede slowly over time and may not require treatment. When hemangiomas present a cosmetic concern, lasers may be used either during the involution phase to help the hemangioma fade more quickly, or after the involution phase to help improve the appearance of the skin. Lasers may also be used to hasten healing when hemangiomas ulcerate. Dr. Levine has expertise in the overall treatment of hemangiomas and will often use medical treatment, as well as lasers, when indicated for optimal results.
Unlike hemangiomas, port wine stains do not involute on their own. Without treatment, a port wine stain may become more prominent during puberty. The lesion may become larger, darker, and take on an irregular, bumpy texture. For this reason, port wine stains are most effectively treated with lasers before puberty. If not treated earlier, port wine stains may also be successfully treated during adulthood.
Since Dr. Levine is board certified as a pediatrician, as well as a dermatologist, she is uniquely qualified to address the special skin care needs of children. Dr. Levine will meet with you to discuss the best options for your child’s specific needs.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments needed varies depending on the size, depth, and severity of the vascular lesion or hemangioma. For small vascular lesions, such as cherry angiomas, only 1-2 treatments may be needed. For larger, deeper vascular lesions, a series of treatments will be necessary to achieve the desired results.* Dr. Levine will assess your condition and recommend the treatment schedule most suited to your specific needs.
What should I expect during laser treatment for vascular lesions and hemangioma?
Laser treatment for vascular lesions and hemangiomas is performed on an outpatient basis in our offices. Patients may feel a slight stinging or snapping sensation during the procedure. A numbing cream or local anesthetic may be used to ensure maximum comfort. Patients may return to normal activities immediately following treatment.* Infants or small children may require anesthesia for extensive laser treatment. Dr. Levine has surgical privileges at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary where she performs laser treatments to vascular lesions with the assistance of a pediatric anesthesiologist in a comforting, child-friendly environment.