Birthmarks. Most of us have them, many of us love them, and all of us have seen them. These skin growths typically appear at or shortly after birth, and while they may fade over time, they often stick around for quite a while.
Most birthmarks fall into one of two categories: pigmented birthmarks or vascular birthmarks. Pigmented birthmarks are caused by an excess of melanocytes (the pigment cells that give your skin its color), while vascular birthmarks occur when blood vessels form incorrectly (for instance, if too many blood vessels are present in the area or if the blood vessels are wider than they should be). Vascular birthmarks, though quite prevalent, are the rarer of the two. Over 80% of new babies have a birthmark of some sort, but only 10% of all babies are born with a vascular birthmark.
Vascular birthmarks are a common form of vascular lesion, but they aren’t the only type. Some vascular lesions appear later in life, and although many resolve themselves over time, not all of them do (and not all of them need to). However, if the lesion interferes with normal activity, bleeds, or makes the patient feel self-conscious, treatment with a vascular laser can make a world of difference.
What Is A Vascular Laser?
Laser therapy is often one of the first ways practitioners recommend attacking problematic vascular lesions, and for good reason – a vascular laser is able to target abnormal blood vessels with minimal to no damage to the surrounding skin.
During a vascular laser treatment, the device will emit light that penetrates the skin. As the energy is absorbed by the hemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen) in the damaged blood vessels, it is transformed into heat, thus coagulating the vessels. This process, otherwise known as selective photothermolysis, is highly effective at reducing the size and appearance of vascular lesions.
Common Vascular Lesions You Can Treat With Laser Therapy
Hemangiomas, the most common vascular lesion found in children, are benign tumors caused by a dense clump of extra blood vessels. They show up at or shortly after birth, and while they initially may appear rather faint, the pinkish-red spots will quickly grow in size and thickness, darken in color, and potentially begin ulcerating or bleeding. This growth period will continue for approximately 6-12 months, then transition to the involution stage where the lesions begin to shrink (which could take many years).
Hemangiomas often go away on their own, but lesions in certain areas need to be treated regardless. For example, hemangiomas of the eyelid can potentially cause permanent loss of eyesight if they are able to grow too large, and lesions that block the ear canal can cause hearing issues and delays in speech development without intervention.
The good news is that a vascular laser can be used to treat hemangiomas in problematic areas, hemangiomas that have ulcerated, and any lasting discoloration after the lesion has finished shrinking.
Capillary Malformations, more commonly known as port wine stains, are due to irregularities in the capillaries and small veins located in the deeper layers of the skin. They tend to be flat and pinkish at birth but will darken to a deep purple and potentially begin to change in texture (becoming thicker or slightly bumpy). Port wine stains are most often treated using a pulse-dye laser, which will target hemoglobin molecules, fading the lesion.
Venous Malformations are the most common type of vascular malformation, affecting 1% of the population. These blueish bruise-like marks show up when veins do not form normally. They can be separate from healthy veins or drain into them, but regardless, they’re not part of the normal vein system. Venous Malformations can cause swelling, pain, or even disfigurement, and require a team of expert doctors to treat. Dermatologists are often a key part of the team and have had quite a bit of success treating the affected area with Nd:YAG lasers.
The lymphatic system is an essential component of the immune system comprised of the tissues and organs that create, store, and transport white blood cells, and it’s tasked with keeping fluid levels balanced and protecting us from infection. However, in rare cases, lymph vessels grow abnormally, resulting in a spongy clump of cysts, which can be debilitating.
When a lymphatic malformation involves the skin or mucous membranes, vascular laser treatment may be able to help. Multiple studies have found that CO2 lasers, in combination with other interventions, are a safe and efficacious treatment option (without the drawbacks of surgery).
Pyogenic granulomas are benign tumors located on the skin or mucous membranes, and they’re made up of abnormal blood vessels that easily break and bleed. These lesions differ from those previously mentioned in that they tend to show up later in life, and are often associated with pregnancy, certain medications, or an injury.
There are many medications and procedures that can help resolve these lesions, but they can be stubborn and often come back or show up in other areas. Luckily, laser therapy has proven to be a highly effective treatment with lasting results. For small lesions, pulsed dye lasers can often get the job done, and for larger lesions, CO2 and Nd:YAG Lasers have shown promising results (one study found that a CO2 laser can usually remove lesions in just one session).
Treat Your Patients With A State-Of-The-Art Device From Laser Resellers
Vascular lesions can result in self-consciousness, physical pain, and even mobility issues; while some of these lesions have the ability to resolve themselves, when they don’t, they can be debilitating. As a practitioner, you have the unique ability to help patients with vascular lesions feel 100% – but you need the right equipment to do so.
That’s where Laser Resellers comes in. We provide maintenance to every laser we sell, ensuring it’s in perfect working condition when it arrives – and unlike many other resellers, if you see a device on our site, it’s guaranteed to be in stock. However, even if the laser you receive is exactly what you ordered, if it’s not everything you thought it would be, we offer a 30-day warranty so you can return it for your money back.