Birthmarks & Vascular Malformations

1 in 10 children are born with a vascular malformation. Modern advances in laser, medical, and surgical therapies have transformed management options for such birthmarks. Two general categories of birthmarks exist: pigmented and vascular. Pigmented birthmarks are those with differing pigmentation/color relative to surrounding skin, whereas vascular birthmarks are characterized by an overgrowth of vascular tissue. The diagnosis of either type of birthmark often comes as a surprise to parents, and parents are also surprised to learn how common they are. Some are present at birth, but often, they are first noticed shortly after birth.

Common types of birthmarks

Pigmented Birthmarks

  • Congenital Nevus, including Giant Congenital Nevus
  • Acquired Nevus
  • Nevus Sebaceous

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Vascular Birthmarks

Vascular Tumors

  • Hemangioma (aka strawberry mark)
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  • Pyogenic Granuloma

Vascular Malfomations

  • Nevus Flammeus (aka Angel kiss or Stork bite)
  • Capillary Malformation (aka Port Wine Stain)
  • Lymphatic malformation
  • Venous malformation
  • Arterio-venous malformation

The last decade has marked tremendous advances in the treatment options of pigmented and vascular birthmarks, and the goal of this website is to provide helpful information on each diagnosis and its treatment options. In addition to pediatric plastic surgery, optimal outcomes may require a dedicated team including a dermatologist, an interventional radiologist, an otolaryngologist and/or a pediatric surgeon. If birthmarks exist in visibly sensitive areas like the face or carry a risk of scarring or deformity, then our governing philosophy is to work to optimize the appearance of the malformation before the malformation carries a social significance.
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