The two most common vascular birthmarks include port wine stains and hemangiomas. Both of these vascular birthmarks can occur in infancy and while they are very different in their natural history, both can be very successfully treated with the pulse dye laser. Small spider veins, angiomas, port wine stains, and hemangiomas can be treated in an office setting, while large areas of involvement may require a general anesthetic to treat the entire region. In many cases the deformity can be successfully eliminated with one treatment while other patients with a more significant deformity may require more than one or two treatments.
Hemangiomas and Vascular Birthmarks affect both children and adults. It is said that there are about 400,000 children born every year with these diagnoses, however not all require the intervention of a specialist. Only about 1 out of every 100 affected require specialized care.
Dr. Edwin Williams’ special interest in vascular birthmarks began in the early 1990’s with the advent of the pulsed dye laser, making it possible to effectively treat hemangiomas, vascular birthmarks, port wine stains and other various vascular malformations. He was one of the original directors of the Albany Medical Center Vascular Birthmark Clinic and in 1995 was one of the original members of the Board of Directors and Co-Founder of the National Vascular Birthmark Foundation.
Since 1995, the National Vascular Birthmark Foundation has been responsible for facilitating the opening of numerous vascular birthmark clinics throughout the country and for networking over 20,000 children and adults into treatment. Dr. Williams has spoken at national and international meetings on this topic, was Chairman of the American Academy of Facial and Reconstructive Surgery’s Vascular Birthmark Committee for several years and has published extensively, including numerous articles and monographs and as an invited contributor to several books on the topic. He has been featured on The Maury Povich Show and The Learning Channel (commonly known as TLC) for his work and humanitarian efforts toward children with disfiguring, facial vascular birthmarks. Additionally, in 2002, he was honored, recognized and named Physician of The Year by The Vascular Birthmarks Foundation for his work. He continues to hold a special interest and passion for treating children and individuals with disfiguring vascular birthmarks including, but not limited to, hemangiomas, port wine stains and other various arterial and venous malformations. His unique focus centers on an aesthetically focused approach to individuals afflicted with disfiguring facial vascular birthmarks. He treats patients at an AAAHC accredited ambulatory surgery center conveniently located within a few miles of the Albany International Airport and in close proximity to many hotels with a variety of accommodations.
Dr. Edwin Williams
Dr. Williams with his 17 years of treating these disfiguring facial hemangiomas has the advantage of really focusing on the aesthetic approach to surgical removal.
Maury Povich featured this heart breaking story on a little girl with a Hemangioma on her nose. Watch the video to see her story and how Dr. Williams helped her
Click on the Medical Magazine written by Double Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Edwin Williams. Dr. Williams was also featured on The Learning Channel for helping a little girl with a hemangioma on her forehead. Click here to watch her story.
A hemangioma is a relatively common vascular tumor that manifests itself in the head and neck region in 60% of affected indviduals. Although children of all races can develop a hemangioma, they are more common in Caucasians and females. Premature, low birth weight infants also have a higher risk of having a hemangioma.
Hemangiomas are usually solitary masses, although 20% of children will have multiple cutaneous lesions. Common sites on the face include the cheek, upper lip, and upper eyelid. In addition to the skin, hemangiomas can be present in other organs including the gastrointestinal tract and liver.
Hemangiomas are typically not present at birth but make their appearance during the first few weeks of life. Although variable in every patient, hemangiomas tend to undergo a phase of rapid growth followed by a period of involution or regression that can last a few years.
Many hemangiomas do not require any intervention other than close observation by a physician. Hemangiomas that threaten to interfere with vision or breathing or cause significant cosmetic deformity are usually treated. A physician may consider initiating treatment with oral medications that slow or reverse the growth of hemangiomas such as steroids or propranolol, although these medications can sometimes have serious side effects. For small, raised hemangiomas, steroids can sometimes be injected into the lesion. The pulse dye laser can be used to treat early, flat lesions in cosmetically sensitive areas or left-over surface blood vessels in lesions that have not completely disappeared.
Occasionally, surgical removal of the hemangioma may be necessary which can usually be accomplished using strategically placed incisions with minimal distortion of surrounding structures. Even hemangiomas that resolve can leave behind redundant or scarred skin that can be improved with surgery.
Renowned Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Edwin Williams provides treatments for hemangiomas including removal with a personalized laser surgery or a surgical treatment plan at the Williams Center for Excellence of Albany, NY.
Read an article written by Dr. Edwin Williams.
Portwine stain birthmarks are caused by abnormal clusters of capillaries in the skin resulting in a pink patch, most commonly in the head and neck region. Portwine stains are present at birth and if left untreated, the flat, pink discoloration will eventually become raised and dark red/purple. Portwine stains can even develop nodules and bleed.
Various lasers have been used over the years to prevent progressive darkening and thickening of portwine stains. The pulse dye laser is now considered the most effective tool for treating portwine stains and has been shown to be effective in children as well as adults.
Dr. Williams has dedicated almost two decades developing a patient-specific approach to managing portwine stains. Dr. Williams prefers to wait until a child reaches one year of age before initiating treatment of the portwine stain. A single treatment session usually treats the entire portwine stain and is done at our outpatient surgery center in Latham, New York. Typically multiple treatments are necessary to lighten the portwine stain and maintain the result.
Renowned Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Edwin Williams offers treatment for portwine stains. The recommended and usual course of treatments are personalized laser surgeries using a Pulse Dye Laser.
Click on the Medical Magazine to view full article written by Double Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Edwin Williams.
Click here to view before and after pictures of the laser treatments used to treat port wine stains
Click for more information about the Pulse Dye Laser.
Click for more information about the Pulse Dye Laser from the Candella Corp.