Laser/Light Therapy for Birthmarks

In laser/light therapy, an intense but gentle beam of light is used on birthmarks without damaging surrounding tissue.

Birthmarks

Benefits

  • Birthmarks are highly treatable with laser/light therapy.
  • Lightening of 70 to 90 percent is a realistic goal.
  • Treatments can be repeated every one to three months, depending on birthmark type, until the patient's goal is achieved.
  • Pain and recovery time is minimal.
  • Procedure is non-invasive.

Risks

As with any treatment, there are risks associated with it, though they are minimized in the hands of a qualified ASDS docotor. These include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Discoloration
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Crusting

What to expect after the procedure

  • Patients may not see any significant changes until several weeks after the surgery.
  • Treated area may be pink or red for four to eight hours after treatment.
  • Patients may feel a slight stinging sensation similar to a mild sunburn in the treated area. This sensation usually subsides within four to six hours. Cool packs or moist cloths may be applied to reduce the sensation.
  • Mild swelling in the treatment area usually dissipates within several days.

Preparing for the procedure

Before the procedure, an ASDS doctor will usually review the patient's medical history and conduct a physical exam. This is the time for the doctor and patient to discuss expectations, potential risks and outcomes of the procedure. Patients also should avoid:

  • Sunbathing, tanning beds, waxing and any chemical peels or collagen injections for two weeks prior to the procedure.
  • Perfumes, deodorants or any potential irritants in the treatment area before treatment.
  • Taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements for a doctor-specified time before treatment due to increased risk of bleeding.

In addition, patients should:

  • Avoid applying makeup, lotion, perfume, deodorant or any potential irritants to the treated area for either 24 hours or until all signs of redness and stinging have dissipated.
  • Apply a good moisturizing lotion to the treated area twice daily for the duration of the treatments and for at least three months after the final treatment.