Types of Birthmarks
Before determining how to remove these birthmarks, here is some information on the more common types and how to identify them:
– These can include various types of birthmarks including moles (congenital nevi), Coffee-cream spots, and Mongolian spots. Mole is a nonspecific term for nevus, which is a pigmented skin spot. While most moles pose no health risks, some large nevi may have cancerous effects later on during one’s life. Coffee-cream spots are caused by too much pigment in the skin. They do not fade away, but do not require treatment. Mongolian spots are flat, slate blue-grey patches commonly found in children. These birthmarks usually disappear when children reach school age.
Macular stains (salmon patches)
– These are very thin, light pink, flat patches of discoloration. These are usually found on babies, either on the back of their neck, or on their upper eyelids. Most of the salmon patches on the eyelids disappear during the child’s first year, while most of the ones found on the neck do not.
– These are caused by abnormal development of blood vessels and are almost always present from birth. Port-wine stains, a very common birthmark, are a type of vascular malformation and can be found anywhere on the body. These can be identified as flat birthmarks that are pink-red at birth and darken to a red-purple color after several years. Port-wine stains do not fade or go away. These birthmarks may be a concern if located on the face above or around the eye because they may be associated with eye and/or brain problems.
– These are lesions that develop on infants within a couple of weeks after birth. These are caused by many tiny blood vessels that are bunched together and can grow quite rapidly during the child’s first six to nine months. These are the most common tumors found in babies and usually develop around the head and neck. Some hemangioma will grow on internal organs, like the stomach, liver, intestines, or kidneys. This can be identified with discolorations in the skin. Some disappear within a few months after birth, while most take years before they disappear or fade. Please consult with a physician about these conditions.
Who would best represent an Ideal Candidate for Birthmark Removal?
People who feel their birthmarks may cause risks to their health constitute as qualified candidates for the procedure, as would those who are bothered by the appearance of birthmarks. Undergoing birthmark removal can help enhance one’s appearance and possibly provide a boost to one’s self-esteem. However, one must remember that cosmetic surgery is meant for improvement, not perfection. It is important to have realistic goals and expectations when considering birthmark removal.
Where do I begin?
People considering birthmark removal should first find a qualified cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist to perform the procedure. CosmeticSurgery.com has created an easy and effective way for patients to find a cosmetic surgeon online. For more information please CLICK HERE
During the consultation visit, the doctor and the patient discuss issues such as reasons for wanting the procedure, desired outcome, various options available, a detailed description of the procedure itself, the risks, limitations, and benefits. The surgeon provides information about anesthesia options, the location and description of where the procedure will be done – in a hospital or office surgical suite – and associated costs. The patient’s medical history is taken, and the area to be treated is examined.
How is Birthmark Removal Performed?
There are different ways that a birthmark can be removed, depending upon its type, size, location and other factors.
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.
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.
Sometimes, medication is enough to treat certain types of birthmarks. Please consult with a physician about which method will work best for your needs.
How Much Pain is Associated with Birthmark Removal?
This depends upon the type of procedure used. 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.
What should be expected after undergoing Birthmark Removal?
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.
What Are the 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.
What Are The Typical Costs Associated With Birthmark Removal?
The costs for birthmark removal vary depending on the method used and the size of the area to be treated. Estimated costs for birthmark removal can range anywhere from $400-500. Fees within various regions may also vary depending on whether the doctor’s practice is in an urban, suburban or rural area. When viewing costs for birthmark removal, make sure the total figure includes any and all associated costs. A comprehensive cost figure may be obtained while consulting with a cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist.
Unfortunately most medical insurance providers do not cover cosmetic surgery procedures. However, most surgeons do offer multiple financing options. CosmeticSurgery.com provides information on various ways patients can fit birthmark removal into their budget. For more information please CLICK HERE
Ten Questions Birthmark Removal Patients Should Ask Their Surgeon
To better educate the patient about birthmark removal, as well as assisting in formulating realistic expectations, it is recommended that the patient look at before and after photographs, speak with previous patients, (you are always welcome to ask your doctor for referrals to previous patients and where to contact them) and get answers to the following questions:
Is my birthmark a cause for any health concerns?
- Where will the birthmark removal be performed and how long will it take?
- In my case, which birthmark removal procedure is the most appropriate?
- Will my birthmark still be noticeable after the procedure?
- How much does birthmark removal cost and what other elements factor into that cost (i.e., hospital fee, anesthesia, etc)?
- What is the surgeon’s level of experience in performing birthmark removal?
- What percentage of patients experience complications with the birthmark removal?
- What is the surgeon’s policy in regards to correcting or repeating the procedure if the birthmark removal does not meet agreed upon goals?
- What should I expect, post-operatively, in terms of soreness, scaring, activity level and so on?
- Have you ever had your malpractice insurance coverage denied, revoked or suspended?
In addition, it is important that birthmark removal patients relay to their surgeon information regarding any allergies and serious medical conditions they may have. Furthermore, patients should inform the surgeon of any medications they are taking.
This site provides information about plastic/cosmetic surgery and is designed to help users make decisions regarding their own treatment options. But medical information is not the same as medical advice--the application of medical treatment to a person's specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a qualified medical practitioner if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.