Skin blemishes present at birth or soon after birth are referred to as ‘birthmarks’. Such blemishes are either red or brown. The reddened blemish is from an overgrowth of superficial blood cells, and the browner tones are an overgrowth of pigment cells. Such birthmarks can be treated with the innovative Fotona® Q-Switched Laser, KTP (532), or the Nd:YAG (1064). The laser procedure requires no down time, no needles and no medication and is safe.

Port Wine Stain
These birthmarks are flat and red and will not disappear with time. The latest advancements in laser technology can substantially fade or remove such birthmarks by targeting the superficial blood vessels without harming the overlying skin.

Haemangiomas (Strawberry Birthmarks)
Such blemishes are not present at birth, but appear within the first few weeks of life. These birthmarks will disappear with time and usually will be gone by middle primary school age. If these birthmarks are left, they will thicken and become raised with time. The ideal time to treat these birthmarks is when they are flat.

Spider Naevi
These blemishes are small, red spots which will develop on small children. These small marks are from a tiny blood vessel close to the skin surface. Such vessels can be easily treated with the Fotona® Q-Switched Laser and are usually the quickest and easiest birthmark to treat.

Brown Birthmarks
Such birthmarks may be present at birth or can develop with time. They are formed from an increase in melanin [brown pigment in our skin] in a certain area. There are many different types of brown blemishes; Cafe au Lait, Naevus of Ota, Naevus of Ito, Hori’s naevus, Becker’s naevus, all of which have different characteristics.

The problem with many birthmarks is that they are usually very visible. Many children unfortunately are very self-conscious of such marks, and find that they can be the target of teasing at school. The laser treatment is quite often well tolerated by primary school age. The treatment is quick, with minor discomfort, and our laser consultant is a gentle, understanding nurse who has children of his own and understands children and their ways! 

If there are any concerns with the location, size and type of birthmark, or a child’s possible tolerance of a treatment, we will refer you to the Royal Children’s Hospital for management, treatment and the possibility of an anaesthetic for the treatment.

Consultation with Our Medical Team
Before any laser treatment can occur, your skin needs to be protected from the sun for about 2 weeks. In this time, you will have a consultation with our laser technician, whom is an experienced nurse. Your procedure will be discussed, and you will be free to ask any questions. An overview of your medical history and medications will be discussed to ensure laser therapy is ideal for you. Our doctor will assess your birthmark. A patch test will be conducted to ensure your suitability with laser therapy. In 4-7 days, you will be able to commence your laser treatment.

Unusual Blemishes
All spots or blemishes on our skin must be watched and investigated for cancerous properties. If you are unsure about a blemish you wish to get removed, please speak to your GP, skin cancer clinic or dermatologist. If our medical team are not happy with a presenting ‘birthmark’, we will refer you to an appropriate medical professional for a thorough assessment and opinion. Such things to watch for are any changes in the blemish, including its size, colour or texture, whether it bleeds or worries you in any way.

What Can I Expect During My Laser Therapy?
There is minimal pain involved with this procedure, but you will feel a sensation like a snapping of a rubber band. We use a Koolio Machine which blows -37 degree cold air onto the laser site which is very soothing. Eye shields will be placed on your eyes to protect them from the laser light. There will be minimal pain felt during or after the procedure, and you are always able to talk to your laser consultant about how you are feeling.

What Can I Expect After My Laser Therapy?
You must keep your treated area out of direct sunlight, as this will exacerbate the laser therapy treatment and may change the desired outcome. This means covering up the area with a shirt or hat or applying a non-adhesive dressing to the site for protection.

How Many Treatments Will I Require?
Every person is unique. Their birthmark will require individualised treatment plans depending on the type and size. At your consult appointment, your treatment plan will be discussed and may involve between 3-6 laser sessions.

References: August 2015. August 2015. August 2015.

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