There are many types of lasers which do many different types of things. The goal of laser treatments is to completely remove the lesion, set the stage for further treatments, treat complications or treat the inevitable broken blood vessels (telangiectasias) left behind as a hemangioma involutes.
The pulsed dye laser (PDL) with a dynamic cooling device is the mainstay for treatment of the superficial vascular component of the hemangioma. It can be used to slow the proliferation; reduce the redness and set the stage for other treatments. Multiple treatments are typically needed.
Depending on the lesion, the age of the child and the location¬† of the hemangioma, the treatments may be done with or without anesthesia. The least traumatic and safest way is chosen for each patient. The PDL can be used to help heal hemangiomas that have ulcerated (the skin has broken open). This is particularly helpful for lesions in the diaper area.
The Nd:YAG laser is used for treating the deep component of hemangiomas involving the oral cavity, larynx (voice box) and, occasionally, the skin. This laser must be very carefully used by experienced physicians.
The KTP laser is most commonly used for airway lesions too. Resurfacing lasers such as the CO2 and Erbium are used to help with scar revisions and improving the texture of the skin after involution. In children, these must be used very carefully as well.
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