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Birthmarks (Hemangiomas) (Nevi) (Port Wine Stains) Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy A birthmark is a persistent visible mark on the skin that is evident at birth or shortly thereafter. A birthmark is often due to a nevus (a mole) or a hemangioma (a localized collection of small blood vessels). Birthmarks that are pink or red are commonly capillary hemangiomas - collections of tiny blood vessels most evident on any kind of Valsalva manuever (holding the breath and pressing down), for example when the baby cries or poops. Common locations are on the midforehead, the eyelids, just above the nose, between the nose and the upper lip, and the so-called "stork bite" on the nape of the neck. They also occur on the buttocks and the back where they are not treated since they are not malignant and because they usually disappear with the passage of a few years. These marks generally become harder to see or disappear entirely within a few years. A special instance of hemangioma is called the "port wine stain." You may recall that Mikhail Gorbachev has a port wine stain on his head and forehead.

Some hemangiomas are located in positions which endanger vision, hearing, or the nasal cavity or when in other locations are so massive as to be serious cosmetic problems. When they are close to body orifices they may grow deeper, threatening vital structures and body funcitons. These, along with the severe cosmetic challenges, should be dealt with using a specialized type of laser which, unfortunately, is not available in the U.S. (thanks, as usual, to our FDA). When you go to a doctor in the U.S. for such a problem you are asked to roll the dice, do nothing and hope it all turns out OK. I know this all very well as I had to deal with my baby daughter who was born with a hemangioma in the left upper eyelid which extended down below the skin into the eye socket. Conditions in America would probably have led to blindness in her left eye. However, specialist doctors in Germany are equipped (literally) to deal with these problems. Dr. Hans Berlien in Berlin, Germany is a wonderful resource and a world renowned expert in this field. He surely saved my daughter's vision. Here is Dr. Berlien's Laser in German and English and here is the information needed to locate Dr. Berlien:

Prof. Dr. Hans Berlien
Elisabeth Clinic
Department of Laser Medicine
Lützow Str. 24-25
D-10785 Charlottenburg, Berlin

The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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