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Laser Treatment of Vascular Birthmarks

Alster, Tina S., MD; Railan, Divya, MD

Journal of Craniofacial Surgery: July 2006 - Volume 17 - Issue 4 - p 720-723
Special Section: Vascular Anomalies

Laser treatment of vascular birthmarks remains one of the more common applications of dermatologic lasers and is the treatment of choice for port-wine stains (PWS) and superficial capillary hemangiomas. Before the development of laser technology, these lesions were treated with radiation, surgical excision and grafting, cryosurgery, and camouflage with cosmetics or tattoos. All of these techniques produced unsatisfactory results or poor aesthetic outcomes. The development of the pulsed dye laser in the 1980s permitted selective photocoagulation and destruction of lesional blood vessels without damage to the surrounding normal skin, thereby producing dramatic clearing of PWS and hemangiomas with minimal risk of scarring.

From the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, Washington, DC.

Washington DC, USA

Address correspondence to Dr. Tina S. Alster, Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, 2311 M Street, NW Suite 200, Washington, DC 20037; E-mail:

© 2006 by Mutaz B. Habal, MD.