Vascular Birthmarks Foundation Hemangiomas  |  Port Wine Stains  |  Vascular Malformations  
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1994 - 2015
Celebrating 21 years with
80,000 networked into treatment

Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon, PhD President and Founder
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Ask the VBF Experts

Dr. Stuart Nelson, VBF Co-Medical Director and International Port Wine Stain Laser Specialist
Dr. Nelson will answer your questions concerning the diagnosis and treatment of Port Wine Stains.


Dr. Gregory Levitin, Hemangioma and Malformations Surgeon, NYC and LA
Dr. Levitin will answer your questions regarding the surgical treatment of all vascular birthmarks and tumors.


Dr. Robert Rosen, Vascular Lesions of Arms and Legs Interventional Radiologist
Our expert for all non-brain AVMs and vascular lesions of the arms and legs, Dr. Rosen welcomes your questions.


Dr. Roy Geronemus, NYC and International Laser Specialist
If you have a question or concern about laser treatments in general, contact Dr. Geronemus.


Dr. Milton Waner, Hemangioma and Malformations Surgeon
Email Dr. Waner with questions regarding hemangiomas and other vascular lesions.


Dr. Aaron Fay, Hemangioma and Malformation Eye Surgeon
Dr. Fay will answer your questions about orbital birthmarks.


Corinne Barinaga, VBF Family Services Director
Corinne Barinaga, our Administrative Director, will answer emails concerning family advocacy, treatment questions, or physician referral.


Dr. Martin Mihm, VBF Co-Medical Director and Research Director
Dr. Mihm is coordinating and directing research regarding vascular birthmarks and tumors.


Dr. Darren Orbach, Pediatric Neurointerventionalist for AVMs and PHACE
VBF is proud to welcome Dr. Orbach!


Dr. Anne Comi, Sturge Weber Syndrome Specialist
One of the leading experts on Sturge Weber Syndrome, Dr. Comi will be responding to your questions concerning this syndrome.


Dr. Alex Berenstein, Malformations and AVM Interventional Radiologist
Ask Dr. Berenstein your questions regarding interventional radiology.


Dr. Kami Delfanian, KTS Treatment Specialist
Send your questions concerning KT Syndrome to Dr. Delfanian.


Dr. Barry Zide, NYC Hemangioma and Malformations Surgeon
If you have a question or concern about hemangioma and vascular malformation treatment in general, contact Dr. Zide.


Dr. Joseph Edmonds, Lymphatic Malformations Surgeon
Ask Dr. Edmonds your questions related to Lymphatic Malformations.


Anna Duarte, M.D., Florida Expert
Ask our expert Dr. Duarte, your questions about receiving treatment in Florida.


Dr. Orhan Konez, Interventional Radiologist
Questions regarding reading and interpreting films and treating malformations with sclerotherapy or embollization can be sent to Dr. Orhan Konez.


Dr. Steven Fishman, Internal Lesions Surgeon
Ask Dr. Fishman your questions about liver and other internal vascular lesions.


Rafael Ortiz, MD, Neuro-endovascular Surgeon
Ask Dr. Ortiz your questions about vascular tumors of the head and neck region, cerebral and spinal arteriovenous malformations, treatment of craniofacial vascular lesions (venous, lymphatic, AVMs, hemangiomas) in adults and children.


Dr. Calil, Lymphatic Malformation Surgeon
Dr. Calil will answer your questions about Lymphatic Malformations.


Elissa-Uretsky Rifkin, M.Ed. CMHC Midwest Developmental Specialist
A trained developmental specialist and is on the board of VBF. Send questions concerning hemangiomas and this topic to Elissa.


Dr. Stavros Tombris, European Surgeon
Fr. Tombris treats all forms of hemangomas, port wine stains and malformations.


Dr. Stevan Thompson, Military (Tricare) Surgeon
Dr. Stevan Thompson has joined us to answer questions concerning the treatment of vascular birthmarks in the military.


Dr. Helen Figge, Pharmacist
If you or your child has a vascular birthmark and you have a question regarding a prescription drug, please ask Doc Helen Figge.


Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon, VBF President and Founder
Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon is the leading lay expert in the world on the subject of vascular birthmarks.


Lex Van der Heijden, CMTC Foundation
If you or your child has CMTC, please contact Lex with your questions.


Leslie Graff, East Coast Developmental Specialist
Leslie is a trained developmental specialist. Send questions concerning port wine stains and this topic to Leslie.


Linda Seidel - Make-up Expert
Ask Linda Seidel your questions about make-up.


Nancy Roberts - Make-up Specialist
Ask our expert Nancy Roberts, Co-Creator of Smart Cover Cosmetics (, your questions about make-up.


Eileen O'Connor, Adult Living with PWS


Laurie Moore, Make Up Expert from Colortration
Laurie Moore, from will answer makeup related concerns.


Alicita, Spanish Expert
Ask our expert Alicita, your questions in Spanish.


Dr. Thomas Serena, Wound Care Expert


Sarina Patel, Young Adult Advocate



What Our Families Are Saying About Us


"We relied on the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation to provide us with the information, the contacts, the resources, and the support that we needed to get through this difficult time. Their theme, "We are making a difference" couldn't be more accurate. For us, it was all the difference in the world."
Jill Brown


Hi Linda
Just a note to say how wonderful I found the interview of you and Capital 9 news. Thanks so much for your devotion.


Anesthesia and Infants

Dr. Nelson and Dr. Geronemus Respond to Article on Anesthesia and Infants

An article recently appeared on the Internet which has caused a tremendous amount of anxiety for the parents of children receiving anesthesia in conjunction with laser surgery of vascular malformations. We would like the opportunity to comment on the article. (

Since the study was conducted during the period of 1976-1982, all children likely would have received halothane as the anesthetic agent. At our institutions, for all infants and young children we now exclusively use sevoflurane (introduced in the mid-1990's), which has a much faster on-set and off-set of anesthesia, as compared to halothane. Moreover, sevoflurane doesn't induce the overall global body beta blockade (such as slow heart rate), which was a major problem with halothane.

As pointed out by the authors, subjects included in the study had a variety of major medical illnesses requiring multiple complicated surgical procedures, which makes anesthesia much more problematic. The vast majority of our patients are essentially healthy. Patients with vascular malformations are only medically cleared for same day surgery procedures if they are medically stable, thus they are usually not categorized in the major medical illness category.

The degree of learning disability was most pronounced in those children undergoing procedures that lasted several hours. Our procedures are significantly shorter and only performed with an experienced anesthesia team.

Finally, and most importantly, the study predates the development and institution in 1984 of pulse oximetry and capnography which have made all anesthesia procedures much safer due to the ability to make real-time measurements of blood and lung concentrations of gases. Undetected brain hypoxia (lack of oxygen) was the most worrisome complication of anesthesia before pulse oximetry became standard practice. When children are put under anesthesia at our institutions we constantly monitor pulse oximetry. Any time the pulse oximeter goes below 90%, the laser procedure is stopped and our anesthesiologist replaces the mask and brings the pulse oximeter reading back up to 100%. Capnography, which measures the amount of carbon dioxide, is an important indicator of early broncho- or laryngo-spasm or other causes of inadequate ventilation or gas exchange by the lungs.

In conclusion, safer and shorter acting anesthetics, shorter time of procedures, treatment of a category of healthier patients and, most importantly, improved real-time monitoring, has significantly lowered the risk of complications from anesthesia. Without question, some of the most dramatic improvements in medicine have been in anesthesia in general, and pediatric anesthesia in particular. It was regrettable that it was not pointed out in the article that the anesthetic medications and technology used for most of the reported cases was more than 30 years old and now obsolete.

We would be happy to speak with you directly regarding children's individual case at your convenience.


J. Stuart Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., Beckman Laser Institute, University of California, Irvine
Roy G. Geronemus, M.D., Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York