Birthmarks...

(41 Posts)
SodaFountain Sat 03-Aug-13 19:38:28

I've just read this article, sorry it's DM but was bored blush.

Anyway my point is that if this treatment is so painful maybe they should just stop??? DH has a huge birthmark on his face, his Mother made him go for laser treatment when he was a child which was excruciatingly painful, she eventually let him stop after he begged her. He now wonders why she couldn't just accept him the way he is.

Please don't judge the parents. They love their child and there's no doubt that they are doing what they feel is best for their child. I don't know anything about the syndrome but I'm sure that no one would subject a child to any more procedures on too if what they already have to go through, if there was no medical reason to . She looks like a beautiful cheeky little two yr old. What a brave girl!

My dd has two little birth marks on her face. They have faded so much they were really dark as a baby. But she notices them and does sometimes ask for me to do something about them. But to me she's beautiful and I can't justify the pain and the risk as one is do close to her eye. I don't know what the treatment for her would be but I can't imagine that anyone would put their kid through an uneccessary procedures.

steppemum Sun 04-Aug-13 23:30:39

My niece has a very large port wine stain all across one half of her face.

She as had laser treatment since she was a baby, it is under GA and not painful, my DB and BIL will continue as long as she wants to continue, she is now 13, and has had the laser treatment every 6 months from birth.

She is a beautiful vivacious girl with no hang ups about her face at all. She has always been accepted just as she is, and she is totally unfazed by it.

But it isn't simply cosmetic. They did lots of tests when she was little to see if there was any complications under her skin, or effects on her eye etc.
As she goes through puberty it is likely to thicken and darken quite a lot.
It effects her mouth, her lip is thicker and slightly miss shaped on one side and if this got worse it could start to effect her speech or eating. She has 2 extra eye teeth on that side too, possibly due to the extra blood circulation??

So she continues with the laser treatment, it has helped some, it is lighter I think than if it had gone untreated, but it hasn't removed it. It probably helps to offset the effects of puberty, but actually, none of us know that or by how much.

I don't think you can say that you shouldn't try to do something. It isn't always either/or. It isn't laser treatment OR societies attitude, it is both/and at the same time

CharlieCoCo Sun 04-Aug-13 23:13:32

But that is your husbands experience and his body/health. just because he has problems with his mum's decision (and i hope he doesnt make her feel guilty for it) it doesnt mean everyone feels the same way. Maybe if this little girl had hers left she would grow up wondering why it didnt get lazered as a youngest before she is old enough to remember. maybe it is causing her problems that it didnt cause your husband. the truth is, whilst you know how your husband feels about his birthmark, you dont know about this little girl's or the implications it is causing.

KnittedWaffle Sun 04-Aug-13 22:38:06

Please don't judge parents for making what is a very tough decision.
People are cruel, laser treatment is painful and birthmarks aren't always treated because of cosmetic reasons (look up ulcerated haemangiomas and ask if you would get it lasered if it would help heal it).
It can be very difficult to come to terms with the fact your child looks different and the way in which other people react to them.
My DS1 developed a haemangioma a few days after he was born. It was on his face, covering his whole cheek and around his left eye.
Within a couple of weeks he couldn't open his eye.
The birthmark was bright red and raised and if he accidentally caught his nail on it, it bled and bled and bled.
It grew over his tear duct which meant his eye couldn't drain properly and all the liquid from his eye pooled in a groove underneath - we were lucky it didn't ulcerate.
It was hot all the time and the skin was very dry and constantly peeling off. It also got worse in hot weather.
Because of where it was his eyeball wouldn't have developed properly and he would've been blind in that eye.

It was difficult to come to terms with at first especially as they keep growing very quickly for a minimum of 6 months, sometimes a year.
On top of this I had to deal with people like the lady in Boots who asked to look at my baby and when she saw him exclaimed 'yuck!' And walked off without another word. People asking if I'd hurt him (yes, really!)

So, after a course of propranolol which reduced the swelling, he had one course of laser aged 22 months. It is nearly gone completely and he was absolutely fine. He didn't even know it had happened. There is still some of it left and we have to decide whether to laser it again or not.

I don't know if we will, but I do know that you have no right to judge anyone in this situation as we're all just parents trying to do our best.

My DS had a birthmark and after lots of comments from complete strangers we made the decision to have it lazored. It wasn't a decision that we took lightly and as he got older we made it clear to him that it was entirely HIS decision whether the treatment continued, as his birthmark made no difference to how we felt about him. What I CAN say categorically, is that it never caused him any discomfort at all, and he stopped the treatment was he was 10 and HE decided that the mark was nearly invisible and it was too much bother to drive for an hour to the hospital. He had the treatment under a general anaethsetic when he was very young, but when he was 4 HE decided that he'd rather just have it done awake.

Designjunkie Sun 04-Aug-13 21:54:15

Meant to add, those purple spots only last about a week. You also don't get them as much with the new laser but I think maybe only GOSH has that laser.
Also should add that her birthmark which was just as extensive as this girl's has disappeared in places and considerably improved in others. I now have a happier, more confident child.

Indecisive90 Sun 04-Aug-13 21:49:39

I agree that in this case it's probably done for medical reasons rather than cosmetic.

In the OP's DH's case his mum was probably trying to do the best for him. I have a port wine stain on my cheek and had probably about ten treatments between 6 and 12. It was painful at the time but it didn't hurt afterwards, even though it looks awful and purple. The technology has definitely improved, I had decided at 12 to stop treatment and went for one last go with a new machine that shot cold air after each blast. It was much better but I was starting high school and decided that the purple scabs would be harder to put up with than just my birthmark. It's still very noticeable but make-up hides it fairly well. It must be a hard decision for parents to make and hard to watch their child in pain.

Designjunkie Sun 04-Aug-13 21:48:28

My dd too has a 'birthmark' very similar to this little girl. When like this they are rarely just birthmarks and often are a symptom of a deeper problem. She has regular laser treatments and they are always done under general anesthetic, she wakes up to no pain and goes home the same day, after the hospital, (GOSH) has made a massive fuss of her - ice cream, toys etc... She is grateful for the surgery as her birthmark has faded considerably so she can see the benefits herself. The only part of the laser she hates is the smell of the gas/ anesthesia so not painful at all. In fact she cries when we go to the dentist but quite like Gt Ormond Street!
Thanks to the surgery she gets less stares, random strangers asking her what it is etc... The laser itself has been considerably improved since your husband's childhood. GOSH now have a double headed laser that penetrates deeper but leaves less of those purple spots you see on that little girls face.

MiaowTheCat Sun 04-Aug-13 21:31:37

DD2 has a couple of birth marks... one on her eyelid I was assured was the type that would fade (and it looks as though it is doing so) and is in a position where it would be fairly easily covered with normal makeup anyway when she hits the age of wanting to wear the stuff. The other she has is quite a large one on the back of her head (apparently I have the same) - that one will be covered by hair as she grows older.

If they were ones that were going to remain visible on her face - I would probably be veering toward the treatment option to be honest - I was terribly bullied as a kid and I wouldn't want to set her up to be a potential target. So shoot me for being superficial - but kids can be bloody vicious and those scars remain for life.

Scribblegirl Sun 04-Aug-13 21:20:48

BookOfRuth my little sister had an identical strawberry mark when she was little! Exactly the same shape/size/location as a bindhi. An old Indian guy came up to them in the park when she was little and started telling them she was blessed grin Very cute.

Hers disappeared when she was about 2.5/3, but my mum says that she agonised over what she'd have done if it hadn't disappeared. I really don't know what I'd do in that situation, and certainly wouldn't judge any parent for acting or not acting in such a tough call situation.

edwinbear Sat 03-Aug-13 23:03:18

I would also add, that having a child with Sturge-Weber, from what I have seen, means having a child in GOSH every couple of months, with seizures, surgery on their eyes, amending medication, surgery due to complications with chest infections, it's an exhausting, worrying and frightening illness. I think it very unlikely the parents would be subjecting their child to anything further unless it was medically necessary.

edwinbear Sat 03-Aug-13 22:52:23

I have a friend who has a child with Sturge-Weber. The birthmark has other medical implications that need to be managed. In my friend's case the child's birthmark extends to his brain and it is very important that it is prevented from spreading as it can increase seizures. I don't think it is entirely cosmetic in this instance.

ColinButterfly Sat 03-Aug-13 22:10:48

Indeed - the functional aspects will have overridden the cosmetic

soverylucky Sat 03-Aug-13 22:09:47

People are very cruel. I never believed it really till my dd was involved in a bad accident and had quite a severe facial injury. The worst was in the supermarket when an old lady walked past us then backed up, walked past us again and stared really hard. Total strangers would ask dd what was up with her face. I was so shock

dd was lucky that her face eventually healed so I totally understand why the parents did this.

MakeGlutenFreeHay Sat 03-Aug-13 22:06:10

And in this case the information may very well have been that her heart/eyesight was (more) at risk leaving a growing strawberry mark than trying to control it.

ColinButterfly Sat 03-Aug-13 22:03:51

Birthmarks exist to mark out the truly awesome. I understand if people want to blend in with mere mortals, some ignorant people just can't deal with special people smile

I had laser treatment on one on my face to fade mine significantly, it's there still but I can use posh make up rather than the stuff I used to have to get specially. It's part of me, but I do cover it up when I wear make up. That said, I lost my make up on holiday and went out-out with it on display and didn't mind one jot. It's taken the best part of twenty years to get to that point though for going out properly, but it's been welcome at the gym or at Sainsburys for years.

I was lucky with how my parents dealt with it, left it to me to ask about it and said it could be treated if I wanted and that when I got older I should go to them and my mum would set the ball rolling. It was entirely my decision. That said, it wasn't offered for until I was older anyway. I guess if standard procedure at the time had been to carry out the treatment, my parents would probably have had me go for it acting in what they thought I would want. I don't envy any parent that has to make a decision on behalf of their child having to have the foresight to know what they might want. You just go with the information you have I suppose.

CMOTDibbler Sat 03-Aug-13 21:57:34

My friends ds has a very large port wine stain birth mark on his face. He's had laser treatment since he was 2 as it was very dark and goes right up to his eye which can cause issues.
Till he was 16 the laser was done under general anaesthetic, and since then with emla. Its apparently not painful after even though he has a very large area done.

This has lightened it enough that he can cover it up if he chooses - he doesn't all the time, but wants the choice.

HollyBerryBush Sat 03-Aug-13 21:56:55

No apologies for the DM, but the pictures are harrowing of this little girl before she was lasered

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2384053/Toddler-Matilda-Callaghan-2-treats-severe-birthmark-laser-therapy.html

When she was born she had a dark purple mark down the side of her face, which initially doctors thought was a bruise.
But then half an hour later, they broke the devastating news to the couple that it was a birthmark.
Two weeks later she was diagnosed with a condition called Sturge Weber Syndrome, a rare neurological and skin disorder. It causes learning difficulties, paralysis and seizures.

it's not really the same as a club foot or cleft palate etc though is it? those are operated on under general, so not distressing for the child or painful long term. this is quite different

I have also read, as someone else posted, that it can cause further problems so it might not just be that they are choosing to do this for aesthetic reasons

TheBookofRuth Sat 03-Aug-13 21:41:27

Fit in, even.

TheBookofRuth Sat 03-Aug-13 21:41:01

DD has a strawberry birthmark right in the middle of her forehead, like a natural bindhi. I rather like it, and think it adds to her beauty.

I know how cruel kids can be, though, and worry about her getting picked on when she's older. Thing is though - if it's not that, it'll be something else. I see it as my job as her parent to give the self-confidence to be able to deal with it, rather than teach her she needs to change herself to for in.

HollyBerryBush Sat 03-Aug-13 21:38:00

He and I both think his mum was wrong for making this decision on his behalf.

Parents make best judgement at the time. Would you leave everything as nature intended? A cleft ? a curved spine? a tied tongue? Club foot? of course you wouldn't, you would take medical advice and make a judgement accordingly.

In an ideal world people would be accepted no matter how they look however we are in a cosmetic and aesthetic culture, and in order to make people fit in with those round them, ears will be pinned back, braces put on teeth and yes, birthmarks erased.

MakeGlutenFreeHay Sat 03-Aug-13 21:32:50

(Taken from Wikipedia, so how ever many pinches of salt you want - but there are other sources)

The vast majority of hemangiomas are not associated with complications. Hemangiomas may break down on the surface, called ulceration. If the ulceration is deep, significant bleeding may occur in rare occasions. Ulceration on the deeper area can be painful and problematic. If a hemangioma develops in the larynx, breathing can be compromised. A hemangioma can grow and block one of the eyes, causing an occlusion amblyopia. Very rarely, extremely large hemangiomas can cause high-output heart failure due to the amount of blood that must be pumped to excess blood vessels. Lesions adjacent to bone can also cause erosion of the bone.

So, given that its around her eyes - and she has problems anyway - and she also has problems with her heart, perhaps it's a medical necessity that they control its growth? Poor girl though, must be rough on her.

MakeGlutenFreeHay Sat 03-Aug-13 21:28:57

I believe that strawberry marks - especially facial ones - can actually be quite dangerous if they are still growing (as the article mentions hers is). I read about it when dd was brown as I was researching birthmarks. As well as having a strawberry mark (now nearly gone) she has a rare mark on her bum, called a mastocytoma - and overgrowth of histamine producing mast cells. It worried the heck out of us when she was tiny and foxed the drs as this mark kept going red and blistering! Basically was a localised allergic reaction if it was rubbed or sat on (tricky not to, given where it is!).

I'll see if I can find a link about the strawberry marks. I can't believe they'd do this unless it was necessary.

llittleyello Sat 03-Aug-13 21:18:09

I agree that it must be an incredibly difficult decision for the parents.

On the scant info available I don't think I would agree to the lazoring and would be cautious of the effect that undergoing such pain at the age of 2 and in the early years would have on development. Saying that what the do I know, I do not have all the medical and psyh information and it may be best done now rather than later (if at all).

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