Laser therapy effective for babies with naevus flammeus

Anaesthesia is not needed because the treatment feels like a 'rubber band snap': researchers

Naevus flammeus or port-wine-stain birthmarks can be safely and effectively treated in early infancy with pulsed dye laser without the need for general anaesthesia, according to new research.

This is important given warnings regarding multiple general anaesthesias for those under the age of three, says Dr Roy Geronemus of the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of New York, in New York City.

Dr Geronemus and colleagues examined data on 197 children who underwent the procedure between 2000 and 2017, when they were under the age of one.

Improvement was judged by comparison of photographs taken before and one year after the initial treatment, at a mean age of 3.38 months.

Cryogen spray was used prior to the laser pulse to diminish pain, the researchers wrote in JAMA Dermatology.

This pain, said the researchers, "has been likened to the sensation of a rubber-band snap".