Laser therapy only works on birthmarks that are close to the surface of the skin. It commonly is used to lighten the appearance or reduce the bumpiness of port-wine stains. Laser therapy is used to treat a superficial hemangioma only in rare cases, because this type of birthmark generally goes away on its own.
- Laser therapy involves aiming short bursts of laser light at the birthmark to lighten the color of the birthmark, shrink the birthmark, or cause it to stop growing.
- Laser therapy can cause pain. Young children may need to be given a general anesthetic or other medicines so they do not move during the treatment.
- After laser therapy, the treated skin becomes dark purple for about 7 to 10 days. After that time, the skin should return to its normal color. But the purple area sometimes can take 6 to 8 weeks to completely disappear.
- A child may need more than one treatment with laser therapy, depending on his or her tolerance for the procedure and the size of the birthmark.
- Laser therapy for port-wine stains has better results when it is done at a young age.