What is birthmark removal?
Birthmark removal is the process to remove or lighten a birthmark with a medical procedure such as surgery or laser birthmark removal.
Laser treatments for birthmarks on the face or other parts of the body are highly effective in removing your unwanted birthmark. If you are considering birthmark removal in Brisbane, we suggest booking a birthmark removal consultation so our team can recommend the best birthmark removal solution for your individual needs.
Benefits of birthmark removal
Birthmark removal is a popular treatment for anyone looking to remove their unwanted birthmark. Most birthmarks are entirely harmless and some fade away with time. However, for some, they can be located in obvious locations in varying sizes and could be causing an individual emotional and psychological discomfort.
Removing birthmarks can help individuals gain self confidence and feel more comfortable in their own skin.
The size of a pigmented birthmark may also indicate a risk of future development of a cancerous growth. This usually happens due to overgrowth of a mole you are born with. If you are considering surgery or laser birthmark removal, it is essential to have your birthmark checked for cancerous growth prior to the procedure.
What are birthmarks?
Birthmarks are irregularities on the skin which are present at birth or can appear in the first month or so after birth. The actual cause of birthmarks is unknown, but they are usually a result of an overgrowth of a structure such as blood vessels, pigment cells or any component of the skin and underlying layers, including fat, and can occur anywhere on the skin.
There are seven different types of birthmarks:
Café au lait spot - This birthmark derives its name from its color. It is usually oval in shape and has light brown or milky color. These type of birthmarks can be present at birth or become apparent soon after.
Congenital melanocytic naevus - This birthmark is also known as a mole you are born with. In 15% of the cases, the mark appears on the head or neck. In fair-skinned people, it is usually light brown in color. However, for darker skinned individuals, it may be almost black.
Mongolian spots - These are blue-grey spots visible more in darker skinned individuals. The birthmark may seem like a bruise on the lower back or buttocks. These spots can fade away with age.
Hemangiomas of Infancy - These strawberry looking marks are usually red and raised and mainly occur on the head and neck after birth. With age, these marks generally fade away but some can leave loose skin.
Telangiectatic naevus - These birthmarks are a result of dilation in the capillaries. Also known as a salmon patch or angel kiss, this patch of reddened skin usually fades away with time.
Port wine stain - these red and purple bruise like areas occur due to abnormal development of blood vessels in the area it is present and are usually present at birth. But they are more prominent in the face area and do not fade with age. If they are left untreated, they may become darker.
Epidermal naevus- This results from an overgrowth of the skin cells themselves and is permanent, mainly affecting the torso and limbs. The most common type forms in a line. Very rarely another tumour can develop within the area.
What types of birthmarks respond well to birthmark removal?
Birthmarks that respond well to birthmark removal are pigmented and vascular birthmarks. These can be treated through procedures such as laser birthmark removal or surgery.
The complexity of a procedure will depend on the tissue involved and the risks associated with the required removal procedure.
How is birthmark removal performed?
There are two types of procedures used for birthmark removal.
Laser Birthmark Removal
In laser birthmark removal, the molecular structure of the birthmark is broken down. The excess melanin is no longer recognised by the body as being part of the body.
Consequently, the bodies scavenger system breaks this birthmark down and it is dissolved by the body within 3-4 weeks.
Usually, individuals go through 3-7 sessions of laser treatment before the birthmark is gone permanently. The result depends on the amount of melanin in the birthmark.
A customised cream may follow the treatment. This cream will suppress the production of melanin in your skin cells, helping to suppress the development of future pigmentation.
If you have an unwanted birthmark we suggest booking a birthmark removal consultation so our team in Brisbane can recommend a personalised treatment plan.
In cases where gentler, non-invasive treatments cannot remove a birthmark, surgical procedures are generally recommended.
Before the surgery, the patient is administered a local anaesthetic to help with the pain of the incision. The incision is made into the affected skin area, and the birthmark tissue is removed. In most cases, the area will heal on its own after the surgery.
However deeper or broader incisions may require stitches to help the incision heal.
Some blood vessel birthmarks can respond to topical and oral medications and may be used before the above treatments.
Is birthmark removal safe?
Laser birthmark removal procedure can be painful so may require an anaesthetic. However, minimal risks are associated with this treatment.
Laser birthmark removal is a non-invasive solution. It generally requires a series of treatments for the patient to see results.
In case a surgical procedure is required, the surgeon may be required to cut the birthmark and remove it from the root so it cannot re-grow. In most cases, a surgical procedure is needed for large moles. Since surgical removal is an invasive procedure, there are risks of infection after surgery.
What can be expected after the birthmark removal procedure?
After the laser birthmark removal or surgical treatment, your dermatologist will prescribe you with an antibacterial ointment to apply to your treatment area. The doctor may bandage the area to protect it from dirt and infection.
You may be instructed to keep the area elevated to avoid blood flow to the area or swelling. Patients are advised to avoid sun exposure for a couple of weeks after the treatment.
The lasered area may feel as if it was sunburned, and it may also scab. However, these side effects should subside and heal within two weeks.
Side effects are minimal in both the laser and surgical treatments. However, if you experience extreme pain, please visit your doctor as soon as possible.
How long will the improvement last?
Usually, with laser birthmark removal, the result is long lasting. A course of treatments will be required and can range anywhere from at least 3-7 treatments depending on your birthmarks removal requirements.
The likelihood of the birthmark reappearing is minimal if it fades completely with the treatment programme, however there may be incomplete removal or a plateau effect after several treatments whereby no further improvement is achievable even with repeat treatments.
If you do observe a reappearance, you should contact your doctor for reassessment.
How to prepare for the birthmark removal procedure?
At Aesthetix Brisbane, we suggest booking in for a birthmark removal consultation, where Dr Hills will take you though the details of your individual procedure after thoroughly assessing and diagnosing your birthmark. Dr HIlls may recommend some further investigations or a biopsy prior to any treatment.
During your consultation you can ask any questions you have about the procedure and ensure you’re comfortable with the recommended procedure. During this consultation we will provide you with the necessary pre and post care recommendations.
A week prior to the procedure, it is essential to make sure you have minimal sun exposure. Provide us with a list of skincare items you use daily and any medications you may be taking.
Dr Russell Hills has over 25 years experience in birthmark removal in Brisbane and is fully qualified. We look forward to recommending the best treatment solution for your personal needs.
Ready to discuss birthmark removal?
For a no-obligation discussion on how our birthmark removal treatments might assist you, please contact us on 07 3720 8788 or make an enquiry online. We look forward to speaking with you.