NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Lasers have revolutionized the treatment of a wide range of skin conditions, from wrinkles to rosacea, but perhaps the area that’s had the greatest impact on children is the removal of birthmarks.
The procedure can make an amazing difference, reports CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez.
The treatment focuses on the common birthmarks called port wine stains that can occur anywhere on the body, but are most disfiguring on the face.
A new study finds that starting laser treatments on very young infants yields the best results.
For example, seeing little Riley Shehigian, you’d hardly notice that she has a few red spots on her face. They are actually the result of her recent laser treatment to get rid of the port wine stain she was born with.
“The red mark on her face was very noticeable,” said her father Grant. “It was dark red covering virtually the entire left side of her face.”
“The hospital kept saying. ‘Oh, it’s just a red mark, it’ll go away, just bruising, it’s just pressure from the birth,” said mother Chandra. “But when it didn’t go away…”
Riley’s port wine stain was caused by a proliferation of tiny blood vessels in her skin. It is important to treat those birthmarks for several reasons.
“We do worry because there’s a thickening that can occur, and the bleeding that can occur over time, not to mention the psychological impact of having the birthmark in a conspicuous area,” said Dr. Roy Geronemus of the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of New York.
Geronemus has just published a study that found that early laser treatments yield the best results.
“We have a faster response, and a more complete response,” he said. “Children end up with fewer treatments and a more complete resolution of the problem than we have seen previously.”
Riley started her treatments when she was just 10 days old.
While the girl is not crazy about her treatments, her mom says it doesn’t take long for her to bounce back to her happy self.
“Now she’s pretty quick at calming down and she’s pretty happy by the time we leave the office,” said mother Chandra.
Riley had 17 treatments with the Candela V-beam laser, and while mom and dad hate to see her cry, they say it’s worth it the result.
“The clearance that we’ve seen is beyond our wildest dreams,” said Grant. “I think she’s virtually there if not a 100 percent already, and we’re thrilled.”