Treatment of Birthmarks

As a mother of three children and physician to many infants, children and adults with birthmarks, Dr. Kauvar understands the emotional effects that birthmarks can have on patients and their families.  Removing a “strawberry” hemangioma from the tip of a little girl’s nose, or a port wine stain that covers half a man’s face is often a life changing event.  Fortunately, we continue to make great strides in improving the technology for birthmark removal. 
Dr. Arielle Kauvar is an internationally recognized expert in laser treatment of birthmarks that affect the skin.  She has over 16 years experience treating birthmarks, and performs these procedures at NYLSC, and at the day surgery unit of New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.  Dr. Kauvar has been dedicated, throughout her career, to researching birthmark removal treatments and is the author of numerous research papers and book chapters on the subject.  She received the Best Clinical Research Award from the American Society for Laser Surgery and Medicine for her research on the treatment of port wine stains, as well as an award from the journal, Dermatologic Surgery.  Dr. Kauvar was the principle investigator studying the effects of Candela’s newest pulsed dye laser for vascular birthmarks, the VBeam Perfecta.

The most commonly treated birthmarks are port wine stains and hemangiomas.  Port wine stains are present at birth and do not fade; they become darker and thicker over time.  Laser treatment is the only safe way to treat this type of vascular birthmark without scarring or permanently discoloring the skin.  Multiple treatment sessions are required.  Hemangiomas are another type of vascular birthmark, and are very common – occurring in 10% of the population, and usually on the head and neck.  While hemangiomas do shrink with time, it can take as long as 5 to 12 years for a hemangioma to fade.  Early intervention with laser treatment will often prevent the continued growth of these birthmarks during infancy, as well as speed their disappearance.  Other types of vascular as well as pigmented birthmarks can also be treated by laser.  

Dr. Kauvar will provide you with a thorough consultation, and assess the relative risks and benefits of treating your birthmark.  In order to achieve the best possible outcome, sometimes treatment must be coordinated with physicians from other specialties. Dr. Kauvar works with preeminent specialists in their fields to provide you with the most comprehensive, scientifically advanced treatments in a nurturing and caring environment.  At NYLSC, we have the most up-to-date lasers available for treating your birthmark.