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The use of laser therapy in vascular birthmarks is essentially limited to the superficial component, although in some cases, there can be noticeable shrinkage of the overall size after treatment. Dr. Levitin has many lasers at his disposal that are targeted to a specific wavelength depending upon the type of vascular birthmark to be treated. In all cases, the goal is to reduce the color or reverse the involvement of the overlying skin or mucous membrane, which often requires several treatments spaced out over several weeks to maximize the overall effect.

Types of Laser Treatments

Use the tabs below to read a description of the types of laser treatment in use at the Vascular Birthmark Center.

For flat, superficial hemangiomas, pulsed-dye laser treatment is often successful in reducing the red color and removing the telangiectasias (“spider vessels”) within the involved skin. When performed early on, laser therapy can also preserve collagen and improve skin texture.

Patients with smaller hemangiomas may often be given laser therapy without anesthesia; for larger lesions and older patients, laser therapy is often delivered under inhalational general anesthesia for patient comfort. For patients with large or segmental hemangiomas, early intervention with serial laser therapy and concurrent oral propranolol therapy, can dramatically reverse the vascular changes that would otherwise cause damage to the collagen layer of the skin and potentially avoid the need for surgery.

For port-wine stains, pulsed-dye laser is used to treat superficial component of involved skin to prevent further progression. In many cases when laser is begun within the first year of life, early intervention can even reverse the color back and lead to near-normal appearance. Most patients then require additional laser therapy at regular intervals, particularly during the years of early childhood and adolescent growth to prevent recurrence, or further progression or darkening of the stained areas.

Venous malformations cause purple or blue appearance, both on the skin and inside the mouth. YAG laser therapy is very effective, and can completely reverse the dark purple changes commonly seen on the skin and mucous membranes. Furthermore, the use of serial YAG laser therapy can not only restore normal color, but also reduce the overall size and restore texture to involved tissues.

For lymphatic malformations, Dr. Levitin has pioneered the use of Coblation therapy for lesions involving the mucous membranes of the oral cavity lesions. In the past, treatment of lymphatic malformations often relied on the CO2 laser that despite its destructive nature, still led to early recurrence of lesions in most cases. In order to tailor treatment to just the superficial layer, Dr. Levitin has developed a technique using Coblation to refine and control the involvement of the surface of the tongue and mucous membranes, leading to fewer procedures, less pain, and increased long-¬term control of these difficult lesions.

Arterio-venous malformations can create significant vascular changes within the skin and can often benefit from a combined approach with laser and surgical therapies. Laser is typically reserved for management of the involved skin after surgical therapy is completed.

For other vascular malformations, or birthmarks that have not shown significant improvement from past treatments, a combination of different lasers or even using different settings may be most effective, and is determined by Dr. Levitin on an individual basis.

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Our Patient Reviews

4.8 / 5.0

Based on 27 reviews

Abril M.

Dr. Levitin is very knowledgeable, compassionate and professional. Five years ago, I needed to find information about a birth mark that my newborn daughter started to grow a couple days after birth. I was afraid, I did not feel like I got any clear information about it through my insurance; also, they did not offer any course of treatment for it. I started to look for information, the birthmark was growing each day, information was scarce and I just got more scared. Finally, I found a video in Youtube from a grandmother who was very grateful after finding treatment for her grand daughter through The Birthmark Foundation. It was a huge blessing to me and my family. I found Dr. Levitin, I contacted him thinking he probably would not even answer. I was wrong, he kindly answered promptly, got in touch with me and soon he had a plan : ) I went to see him at the Birthmark Center in Los Angeles. He explained everything in a way that it was so clear to understand, no question I made was insignificant and his answers were each very informative. I really never have had an experience with a doctor who explains and speaks in such a way. I left his office knowing that my daughter was in the best hands and the best care. I first thank God for the Birthmark Foundation, a great organization with the highest quality of doctors. Also, a very special thanks to Dr. Levitin for all his help and kindness, for listening to my concerns and answering each and every question. And last, but no least, to the Birthmark Foundation Center in Los Angeles : ) I hope many children can find help/care in this place as I found it for my daughter. Thank you forever.

Ryan E.

I will be telling tales of the good doctors compassion till time comes to an end. Because of Dr Levitin, I have more confidence in my every day life. He was fast, knowledgeable, precise and all with a disarming sense of humor. Two thumbs up!

Carla M.

I wanted to show you how much better Hailey's tongue looks and let you know her speech has already improved so much!!! Her speech teacher is thrilled!!!! Thank you so much for everything you did for her. You are an excellent surgeon with a great bedside manner- we are forever grateful to you!!! We are so appreciative!

Danielle L.

we are forever grateful for Dr. Levitin. My daughter Lena had surgery to remove her hemangioma that was located on her forehead at just 6 month old. she healed beautifully and we couldn't be happier with how minimal her scar is, even almost 4.5 years later. Dr. Levitin is caring, compassionate, and such a great doctor/surgeon overall. He had our daughter's best interest and I knew she was in good hands. I highly recommend him any chance I get!

Chris

My name is Chris and I was recently treated for an AVM on my forehead by Dr. Gregory Levitin of New York (New York Eye and Ear Infirmary). Thankfully, I live within a few hours of NYC. In brief, I would like to say that Dr. Levitin is very capable doctor with a lot of experience with AVMs. He responds quickly to e-mail, texts, and phone calls. He accepts insurance. He takes a "team approach" and will be your "QB" and involve other specialists as necessary. In my particular case they were Dr. Raj Shrivastava (Mt Sinai) and Dr. Raphael A. Ortiz (Lenox Hill) in NY. I recommend contacting Dr Levitin for a consultation if you suspect you have an AVM. All 3 Drs are just good people. When I spoke to them, they treated me like like an equal. I felt like they were advising me as a close friend or family member. Like many that suffer with AVMs I was at first mis-diagnosed. What was thought to be a just a simple cyst turned out to be an AVM. Surgery to remove the cyst made the AVM about 5x bigger. My treatment entailed a few MRIs and CAT scans to determine what was going on and the treatment plan. This was followed by consultation with the 3 Drs mentioned above and finally a 2-day procedure. On day 1 Dr Ortiz embolized the AVM. On day 2 Dr Levitin and Dr Shrivastava removed the AVM from my skull and put some metal mesh there to fill the "hole". It has been 6-months since the surgery and so far I have not had any recurrence. In honor of Vascular Birthmark Awareness Day and to thank these Drs for all they have done for me, I just want to give everyone a solid reference. Finding the right doctor for this type of stuff makes all the difference.

Valle S.

I just discovered this page i have also a birthmark I always experiences bully because of this. I don't know what kind of birthmark is this if it is harmful ? I hope Dr. Levitin notice this message in this way I think he can help me :) :) #DrLevitin

Alicia M.

This year marks the 10th that I contacted VBF for help. Since then I have been under the care of Dr. G Levitin and Dr. R. Ortiz, they are my guardian healing angels! Thanks VBF for not only helping me but also for letting me be a volunteer in the foundation whenever I am needed. A Big Hug to all from MIAMI... Alicia

Alexander G.

Totally positive experience. Dr. Levitin is a great professional. He has diagnosed and treated my nose breathing problem, significantly improving my quality of life. Office staff is very professional. Appointments always kept on time. Strongly recommend.