posted at 7/9/2013 11:58 AM EDT
My child has what has been diagnosed as a port wine stain birth mark. Laser treatment has been recommended to us though there is no specific timeline for it and it's something we will likely wait to do. I was wondering if there is anyone who has any experience with laser removal of a birth mark either themselves or on their child. I am really just looking to hear what your experience has been like in terms of effectiveness, how many treatments it required, if it's your child what age were they when they received it and if you didn't have it removed whether it changed over time either for the better or worse. Thanks!
posted at 7/9/2013 4:04 PM EDT
I have what is called a "strawberry mark" on my back, just below my shoulder blade. Apparently when I was born, it was very bright red and quite large (since birthmarks stay the same size, compared to my infant-sized back vs. now... it was 1/2 my back). My mother was of course very concerned, but not sure there was laser treatment 38+ years ago. Today, it is barely noticeable, hardly red at all, and about the size of a small orange. And, of course, its on my back, so it doesn't bother me at all, and I wouldn't do anything about it. (I'm not sure port wine marks fade however... worth checking)
I will say... when I was younger, and it was still noticeable (I can't really say when it stopped being so red)... I was very subconcious of it when in bathing suits or anything with a low back. I got married at 34, and fell in love with a wedding dress that was backless. It did take some MAJOR convincing from my mom and friends that they could not see my birthmark. Even though I knew you couldn't tell, I knew it was there. I do recall thinking about it several times during my wedding day, but am so glad I got the dress in the end.
I think a big question is where is the birthmark? On the face... definitely a bigger concern than on the foot or back. And I know this may be an odd question, but a girl or a boy? Girls may be much more self conscious as they grow up...
posted at 7/11/2013 9:14 AM EDT
Thanks for your thoughts. Definitely not an odd question. It's a girl. It's on her arm, basically the entire arm and the underside of her hand. We are fortunate that it is only a cosmetic issue but obviously we have thought about her being self conscious about it when she gets older. And that's really our main concern because it won't affect the use of her arm. We are told that it in terms of effectiveness it doesn't matter when we remove it but obviously the younger she is the smaller it will be so it will require less treatments. The treatments also may not entirely work but based on research I've done it seems the results are pretty good. We were also told that it will grow with her and won't stay the same size. The doctor we visited basically said some remove it when they are babies and some when they get older. When they get older friends will notice it was there and gone which in my mind doesn't seem like a big deal but maybe it will be for a child or teenager. Right now she would have to be put to sleep to have it removed which is why we are waiting. Especially given it will require multiple treatments. It may or may not fade though it appears to have already since her birth.
I really appreciate your thoughts. It helps to hear from someone with a something similar.
posted at 7/11/2013 2:03 PM EDT
I have a port wine stain, it did grow with me. :( Thankfully it is completely hidden and you really have to know me to know I have it. ;) Though the only time you could possibly see it is when I'm in a bathing suit, I am still self conscous of it.
If it were me, I'd have it treated/removed the sooner the better. DS had a oddly placed birthmark, part port wine stain, part something else, on the back of his head and everyone commented on it when he was a baby. Some pretty rude comments. If it wasn't going to be covered with hair I would have done something about it as soon as I could. Now you can't realy see it on him, if you really paid attention you'd see a patch of his hair that is a little different color and texture, but it blends.
though I agree, when having to sedate a child, it's a harder decision to have some procedures done. DS's birthmark required a MRI of his brain, and we had to sedate him to have it done-definitely a tough decision when they are so little!
posted at 7/11/2013 3:41 PM EDT
KAM, did yours or your son's change (in terms of lightness or darkness) over time or did it always generally look the same?
posted at 7/15/2013 3:21 PM EDT
His is covered by his hair-which is a slightly different texture and color. It has remained the same size in scale to his head-when I go looking for it. He's 4.5 now and has no idea he has it. His dermatologist joked that he'll only know about it when he A) goes bald or B) shaves his head as a prank in highschool/college. The joy of having a birthmark under your hair!