Vascular Birthmarks Foundation Hemangiomas  |  Port Wine Stains  |  Vascular Malformations  
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1994 - 2016
Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon, PhD President and Founder
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Updates from Dr. Linda


Laser Therapy for Treating Port Wine Stains and Infantile Hemangiomas

March 5, 2017


Our nextVBF Facebook Live sessions will focus on using lasers to treat Infantile Hemangiomas and Port Wine Stains. Two of the world's leading experts in this field, Dr. Stuart Nelson andDr. Roy Geronemus, will be co-hosting the sessions with me to share critical information for families affected by these vascular birthmark types.


On March 5th, Dr. Nelson will explain why he prefers to treat patients early (as young as one month of age) and while under anesthesia. On March 31st, Dr. Geronemus will share his preference for early treatment (as soon as the birthmark appears on a baby, even just after birth) but explain why he prefers not to use anesthesia. As you will hear during these two sessions, there are no hard and fast rules in the diagnosis and treatment of vascular anomalies. Settings, wavelengths, and pulse durations are all variables considered in the approaches to laser treatment. 


Patients treated under anesthesia have to be admitted to a center with an anesthesiologist. They are prepped before the treatment and then have to wait to recover. For many this can be a relatively quick turnaround of time, but not as quick as without anesthesia. Outcomes vary - some parents say their babies are groggy for days, others say their babies do fine and are playing within hours of treatment. The latest published journals indicate no long term side effects from repeated anesthesia treatments.


Treatments without anesthesia are typically over within minutes. Patients are lathered with a topical numbing agent and lasered for a short time later; they return home immediately.  Many parents worry that treatment without anesthesia is painful and traumatic. Both sides of the coin have been reported to VBF - some patients have no issues while others appear traumatized. 


As VBF expert  HYPERLINK "" Dr. Milton Waner always says, "the bottom line is the end point." So, regardless of whether a treatment includes anesthesia, the end point must always be a lighter, less prominent vascular birthmark.


If you or your loved one has a vascular birthmarks that is being treated with a laser, make sure you ask lots of questions, mainly, what will be the end result? Some port wine stains lighten but never go away. Hemangiomas can lighten but not flatten and they do eventually go away. Vascular birthmarks are like snowflakes. No two are alike and no two respond to treatment the same. 


For more information about the laser treatment of an infantile hemangioma or port wine stain, please make sure you watch these important VBF Facebook Live sessions with Dr. Nelson on March 5th and with Dr. Geronemus on March 31st.  If you miss them live you can watch recordings of the sessions at any time from this link.  You can also find many articles regarding the debate whether to use anesthesia in treating a vascular birthmark on the VBF website. 


Dr. Linda

Treating Hemangiomas: When to treat, when not to treat

February 13, 2017
Dr. Linda

In this month’s post I will address some of the confusion regarding treatment of Infantile Hemangiomas (commonly called “hemangiomas”).

One in ten children are born with a vascular birthmark, most being a hemangioma. Ninety percent (90%) will resolve on their own. The remaining 10% – roughly 40,000 babies each year – who will need the opinion of a specialist are the children that VBF is most concerned about because of the ongoing questions about if and when to pursue treatment.


In 2015, VBF Expert Dr. David Darrow was successful in getting his Guidelines for Treating Infantile Hemangiomas published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Because the lifecycle for integrating a new treatment practice into everyday care can be up to eight years, these guidelines are not yet in widespread practice. As a result, many babies with a hemangioma are still not being accurately diagnosed or appropriately treated.


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Early Intervention

January 9, 2017

Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon


Dr. Linda of FacebookHow soon should my child start treatment for their vascular birthmark? That is one of the most common questions VBF receives. This topic is so important that I hosted the first FACEBOOK LIVE WITH DR. LINDA on January 9th regarding this very topic.


Infantile Hemangiomas and the Port Wine Stains are the two vascular birthmark types that most parents write to us about regarding early intervention.


For the Infantile Hemangioma, it is critical that an accurate diagnosis be made and that treatment begins at or around the four-week well baby checkup. Why? Because this is when the “map” of the hemangioma is usually fully present and it is the best time to try to abort the growth. Most doctors have been trained to “ignore” these lesions and to tell the parents to “leave it alone, it will eventually go away.” However, this philosophy, which is referred to as “benign neglect,” is contrary to the mission and purpose of not only the VBF, but to many of the treatment experts that work with us.


Most parents have an instinct or “still small voice” that tells them something is “not right.”


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100,000 Strong!

December 7, 2016
by: Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon


Christine ShannonIt goes without saying that every child is special. But for me, every child with a vascular birthmark is extra special. Ever since 1994, when my daughter Christine was diagnosed with a hemangioma, my life has been focused on helping every family affected by a vascular birthmark. That’s why I founded the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation (VBF), to educate affected families and treatment experts about the latest information regarding the diagnosis and treatment of these often complex lesions. No one was there for me in 1994. Because of that, I vowed to God that I would dedicate my life to this cause, so that no parent would be alone on this journey. That was 22 years ago. Today, I am proud to announce that the vow I made in 1994 has resulted in the most amazing event in VBF history.


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