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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

When my mother underwent chemotherapy, we spent a lot of time visiting the phlebotomy lab for blood testing. I was always impressed by how easily the phlebotomist was able to find and puncture a vein to draw blood on the first try. I knew there had to be a method to it, and was astounded by how effortless and painless they made the process. It led me to research a lot about blood tests, from drawing to the actual screening. I've created this site to share what I've learned in the hopes of teaching others. The more you understand, the more control you can have over your own health care.

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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

Pulsed Dye Laser Therapy: A Treatment Option For Children With Port Wine Stains

by Francisco Arnold

Seeing your new baby for the first time is an amazing event, but if your child is born with a red birthmark on his or her body, you may initially feel concerned. This type of birthmark is called a hemangioma, but it is often referred to as a port wine stain since its appearance can look similar to a red wine spill. Port wine stains are almost never dangerous, although additional monitoring may be required if it is located on a child's face or close to the eyes. While port wine stains typically do not cause health issues, some parents opt for pulsed dye laser treatment, which is one type of procedure used to lighten the port wine stain and reduce pigmentation. Continue reading to learn what to expect from pulsed dye laser treatment:

Initial Consultation

If your child has a large port wine stain and you want to seek treatment to help lighten it or remove pigmentation, you will need to make an appointment with a dermatologist who works with pediatric patients and has experience administering pulsed dye laser treatments. Your child's dermatologist will do a full exam and carefully inspect the port wine stain. During the exam, and complications that are rarely associated with port wine stains will need to be ruled out. If your child is a good candidate for pulsed dye laser treatment, additional appointments will be scheduled.

Outpatient Procedures

The good news about pulsed dye laser treatment for port wine stains is the fact that they are done on an outpatient basis, so your child will not have to stay in the hospital. However, it is important to note that pulsed dye laser treatment for port wine stains require several sessions, typically scheduled a few weeks apart, so you will need to commit to multiple sessions of laser therapy if you want your child to have the best outcome possible. The number of laser therapy sessions will depend on the size of the port wine stain as well as its pigmentation. Your child's dermatologist will determine exactly how many sessions of laser therapy are needed.

Anesthesia 

While teenagers and adults typically only need topical anesthesia for pulsed dye laser therapy, younger children are typically administered general anesthesia prior to a session. This is to ensure that a child does not experience any discomfort and also to make it easier for the dermatologist to administer the laser therapy since young children can find it difficult to hold completely still for an extended period of time. Your child's dermatologist will provide information about what you will need to do in order to prepare your child for general anesthesia. 

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