Laser surgery at early age effective in removing birthmarks

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NEW YORK (CBS) Lasers are revolutionizing the treatment of a wide range of skin conditions. Now doctors are reporting great results using lasers to remove birthmarks for children.

Seeing little Riley Shehigian, you'd hardly notice that she has a few red spots on her face. they're actually the result of her recent laser treatment to get rid of the port wine stain she was born with.

"The red mark on her face was very noticeable. It was dark red covering virtually the entire left side of her face," said Grant Shehigian Riley's father.

"Hospital kept saying, 'Oh, it'll go away -- just bruising.' But when it didn't go away..." said Chandra Shehigian, Riley's mother.

Riley's port wine stain was caused by a proliferation of tiny blood vessels in her skin. It's important to treat those birthmarks for several reasons.

"We do worry about it because there's the bleeding that can occur over time and the thickening that can occur over time as the children get older. Not to mention the psychological impact of having the birthmark in a conspicuous area," said Dr. Roy Geronemus with the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of New York. He just published a study that found that early laser treatments yield the best results. "We have a faster response and a more complete response. Children end up with fewer treatments and a more complete resolution of the problem."

Riley started her treatments when she was just 10-days-old. She's not crazy about her treatments but her mom says it doesn't take long for her to bounce back to her happy self.

"Now she's pretty quick at calming down and she's pretty happy by the time we leave the office," Chandra said.

"The clearance that we've seen is beyond out wildest dreams," Grant said.

Riley's had 17 treatments, and while mom and dad hate to see her cry, they say its worth the results.

Doctors say this type of laser treatment leaves no scars and does not change the pigment of the skin. In many cases, the sessions are also covered by insurance.