Laser Removal of Hemangiomas

Tucson dermatologist Dr. Gerald Goldberg

By Gerald Goldberg, MD

Tucson, Arizona 85712

Physician (MD, DO), Dermatology


The two primary types of red birthmarks treated are the Hemangioma and the Port Wine Stain (PWS).

The Hemangioma is far more common as it affects 10% of newborns in the first weeks of life. The Port Wine Stain occurs in about 3 out of 1,000 newborns and is present at birth.

While close observation is usually adequate in lesions of the face and neck or in non-critical areas, treatment with topical, oral or injected corticosteroid is often the most immediately effective treatment.

There are side effects to steroids that are significant. Therefore, the goal is to treat for as short a time and at the lowest dose necessary to avoid complication.

Other treatments such as the Pulsed Dye Laser can be used to change or arrest the growth pattern, and usually will decrease the ultimate size of the lesion. The Laser treatments allow a more rapid shrinkage, and enable us to use a lower and/or shorter course of steroid therapy. These treatments can be done together in a complementary manner.

Often the treatments are at approximate 2-6 week intervals with several treatments usually required for optimal improvement, during the rapid growth phase in critical areas of concern.

The Pulsed Dye Laser is most useful in treating residual dilated blood vessels, or remodeling scar, following regression of the Hemangioma.