Birthmark

  • Medical Author:
    Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD

    Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Can skin damage during delivery produce a birthmark?

It is possible for birth trauma to produce sufficient damage to leave a scar. This scarring could be interpreted as a birthmark.

Is it possible to remove or fade birthmarks?

It is now possible to treat many kinds of both pigmented and vascular birthmarks. The approach depends on the type of tissue involved and the risks versus the benefits of treatment. The pediatrician is an excellent source of information as to potential treatment options.

Does insurance cover the cost of birthmark removal?

As with all such questions about insurance coverage, each company may be different. Most birthmarks that are small and not visually unpleasant are unlikely to require treatment and are rarely covered. Any birthmark that is likely to impair either the physical or mental health of the child is much more likely to be covered.

What is the treatment for birthmarks?

The treatment of birthmarks depends on the nature of the tissue involved. Medical treatment can hasten the resolution of certain kinds of vascular birthmarks. Generally, measures that destroy the involved cells of the birthmark are required for both pigmented or vascular birthmarks. Either scalpel surgery, lasers, and rarely radiation can be helpful.

What is the prognosis of birthmarks?

A few small pigmented birthmarks are quite common and do not need to be treated. This is also true for vascular birthmarks. Smaller hemangiomas will disappear spontaneously, leaving a small insignificant scar depending on the sites involved. Dermal melanosis eventually fades.

Medically reviewed by Norman Levine, MD; American Board of Dermatology

REFERENCE:

McLaughlin, Maura R., Nina O'Connor, and Peter Ham. "Newborn Skin: Part II. Birthmarks." American Family Physician 77.1 Jan. 1, 2008.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/15/2015

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