Birthmarks are discolorations on the skin that often appear at birth, which is why they are referred to as congenital birthmarks. In some cases, the mark might appear within a few months after birth. While these markings rarely constitute a serious medical concern, they can be a significant cosmetic nuisance. When birthmarks affect your self-confidence in your appearance or make you self-conscious around others, removal of the birthmark is usually an option. Dr. Barrett performed birthmark removal on all areas of the face and body, utilizing optimal closure techniques to minimize scarring and avoid further blemishing.
Types of Birthmarks
Birthmarks can either be vascular or pigmented in nature. Pigmented marks are due to an overgrowth of melanin (pigment) producing cells. Colors of these markings vary between shades of black, brown or grey. The most common types of pigmented birthmarks include:
Moles that are present at birth are known as congenital melanocytic nevus. They tend to be very dark and can appear anywhere on the body.
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These birthmarks get their name from their milky tan color. They usually appear in an oval shape and may form after birth.
Marks tend to be grey or blue in color and may appear similar to a bruise. They generally appear on areas of the body like the back, buttocks and trunk.
Vascular Birthmarks occur as a result of an overgrowth of vessels rather than pigment and appear as pink or red markings. While most of these birthmarks tend to fade over time, port wine stains are usually permanent and require treatment to eliminate.
What is Birthmark Removal?
Dr. Barrett offers surgical excision of birthmarks in most cases, because this is the most effective and permanent method of eradicating the markings. With extensive experience in surgical procedures of all kinds, Dr. Barrett knows the right techniques to achieve an optimal cosmetic result. In addition to completely removing birthmarks, he employs suturing methods that minimize visible scarring after the procedure.
Is Birthmark Removal Right for You?
Although birthmarks are not a medical concern in most cases, the cosmetic issue may constitute a reason to seek removal. This is particularly true for excessively large birthmarks that are impossible to hide under makeup or clothing. In most cases, patients that seek birthmark removal have the markings in cosmetically sensitive areas like the eyelids, nose, lips, neck, arms, breasts, shoulders, hands and legs. Dr. Barrett will make a personal assessment of your birthmark to determine whether removal is advisable. If removal is a good option, he will tailor your excision to produce the best possible cosmetic result for you.
Dr. Barrett performs surgical excision of birthmarks using topical or local anesthetic in his office. The specific techniques used will vary, based on the size and depth of the marking. Once it is removed, Dr. Barrett carefully sutures the opening closed, using methods to keep post-treatment scarring to a minimum. This offers tremendous benefits to patients with marks in very visible areas like the face, since the residual scarring will be much more aesthetically pleasing than the birthmark itself.
If the mark looks suspicious in any way (more common when removing congenital melanocytic nevus), Dr. Barrett will send a sampling for biopsy. Rest assured that since the mark is completely removed at the time of excision, even a detected malignancy will have been effectively treated with the initial removal process.
After Your Birthmark Removal
While you won’t typically have any downtime after your birthmark removal, the treated area will require about two weeks to heal. Although absorbable stitches have become common in many practices, Dr. Barrett discourages them because they can cause inflammation when the body tries to break down the suture. He prefers to use non-reactive sutures that are removed a week or two after surgery.
Once all stitches are removed, Dr. Barrett instructs patients to begin a taping protocol for a minimum of two more weeks to provide optimal healing and sun protection. After taping, patient then start a three-month protocol using scar gel treatment to optimize scar remodeling and minimize the appearance of the scar. To ensure optimal healing, patients should also avoid swimming, baths or hot tubs for the first two weeks following surgery.
Birthmark Removal in Beverly Hills
Birthmarks may be a common marking, but when yours are causing significant embarrassment or self-consciousness in your appearance, surgical removal might be the right choice. If you are interested in this procedure, contact Barrett Plastic Surgery today at 310-598-2648 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Barrett.