Professor John Harper, Consultant in Paediatric Dermatology, The Portland Hospital
Q.“My child has been born with a birthmark on his face. Is this something I have caused during pregnancy and what is the best way to have it removed?”
A. Birthmarks are common and most usually do not pose a problem. They occur in the development of the baby’s skin and are not related to anything specific during pregnancy. They range in size and colour according to which part of the skin is affected, for example pigmented naevi or moles are brown and blood vessel birthmarks are red.
The most common birthmark on the face, affecting 1 in 5 babies, is a flat red mark between the eyes called a “salmon patch” or “stork mark”. As these usually become barely noticeable by age two, no treatment is necessary.
Haemangiomas or “strawberry marks” affect 1 in 10 children and are red/purple lumps, which can increase in size up to six months, with most disappearing without treatment within 3 to 7 years.
The few troublesome ones that are large or around the eye can be treated with a drug called propranolol, which would need to be administered by a Specialist with experience of using this medication.
The arrival of the state of the art vascular pulsed dye laser, the Vbeam Perfecta® [Syneron-Candela] at the Portland is a valuable addition to the development of the Birthmark Service. The laser provides treatment for vascular skin lesions, in particular port wine stains, telangiectasia (spider naevi) and ulcerated haemangiomas. Facilities are available for both general anaesthesia and local anaesthesia, depending on the age of the child and the size of the vascular lesion.
For further information or to book an appointment please contact Professor Harper’s secretary:
Telephone: 0207 390 8308
Fax: 0207 390 8330