What are vascular birthmarks?
Vascular birthmarks, also known as vascular anomalies, refer to a group of blood vessel disorders characterized by tumors and malformations. The common infantile hemangioma is a frequent example of this condition. They are largely benign in nature, but can pose some functional and cosmetic problems. They are usually present at or around the time of birth. Some of these birthmarks, such as the common hemangioma, go away on their own, but others such as vascular malformations can continue to be a problem for a lifetime.
Treatment for vascular birthmarks can vary substantially. Dr. Panossian is Founder of the Vascular Anomalies Center at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and has extensive experience in the management of vascular anomalies of all types.
"Vascular birthmarks are some of the most challenging conditions to treat in medicine. They require a multidisciplinary team approach with a deep understanding of the various types of vascular anomalies."
What do I do if my child has a vascular birthmark?
The first step is to make sure you have the correct diagnosis. Often, the initial diagnosis given to patients is inaccurate and even incorrect.
It is important to understand that vascular birthmarks behave differently from classic birthmarks. Some require close observation and others are treated only when they create a problem. Treatment can vary widely from traditional surgical excision to sclerotherapy and embolization. The decision to treat is best done by a vascular anomalies expert. Dr. Panossian has a deep understanding and experience in the treatment of all vascular birthmarks. He trained at the world-renowned Boston Children's Hospital Vascular Anomalies Center and established its counterpart at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
This is the most common type of vascular birthmark, affecting roughly 1 in 10 children. Most hemangiomas are of the infantile type and tend to go through a well-described cycle of growth followed by involution. The treatment of hemangiomas can range from simple observation to surgical excision.
Many people confuse hemangiomas with pyogenic granulomas. They are both benign vascular tumors, but pyogenic granulomas arise from some type of repetitive trauma, such as scratching, and do not disappear on their own. Surgical excision is frequently needed and relatively easy to do. They do not grow back if properly excised.
Venous malformations are an abnormal conglomeration of veins, similar to varicose veins. They tend to gradually enlarge over time and do not disappear as hemangiomas largely do. These are not particularly dangerous but can produce disfigurement, frequent bouts of pain, and loss of muscle and/or nerve function.
These vascular malformations are comprised of lymphatic channels. Similar to venous malformations, they can gradually enlarge over time and do not disappear. Some symptoms may include pain, redness, infection and disfigurement in severe cases. Treatment can include sclerotherapy or surgical excision.
These vascular malformations are frequently referred to as "port wine stains." They tend to involve skin and produce a deep red or purple coloration. Treatment is largely with pulsed dye laser or IPL. In some cases, capillary malformations may be associated with a larger condition called Sturge-Weber syndrome.
This syndrome is characterized by simultaneous involvement with capillary, lymphatic, and venous malformations. The symptoms tend to be more severe than any one of the malformations alone. There is also associated hypertrophy, or enlargement, of one or more involved limbs. Lifelong monitoring and treatment are necessary.
Dr. Panossian has received the highest honor bestowed by the Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Journal, the pre-eminent publication of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Read about his ground-breaking smile reanimation technique.
Treatment for facial paralysis has come a long way over the last two decades. No longer do patients have to live with facial paralysis or asymmetry due to facial weakness. However, facial paralysis represents a race against time under many circumstances. Inflammed or injured nerves, whether facial nerve or another nerve, goes through a process of degeneration, then regeneration. If the process is impeded or slowed, then the likelihood of full recovery diminishes.
In our practice, we advocate EARLY treatment of suspected facial nerve injury in order to achieve maximal recovery. From the moment you discover facial weakness or paralysis, whatever the reason, contact our office as soon as possible. There are interventions that can be performed early on to reverse facial paralysis. However, we realize that much advice currently available online or at your doctor's office may be out of date. To avoid confusion, feel free to contact our office ahead of your consultation, if you need your questions answered.