I was born with red spots over my lower left arm, chest and neck. Ten years ago I first tried to had them treated with a laser and it didn't have any significant impact. It was very disappointing.
So when I scheduled to try again a couple of months ago I tried to prepare myself for disappointment. I actually had a consult with a local plastic surgeon for this procedure first and the consult was terrible (2 minutes max.- would not recommend Dr Barone) so I actually brought my kids to the consult with Dr DeSilva thinking getting a babysitter for those 2 minute consults would be silly. I ended up spending much more time there and I'll explain more below in the office review.
I got treatment that same day! It's uncomfortable but the discomfort is brief. After the treatment the areas that respond well will be bruised and maybe even slightly raised/swollen for a day or so. Since my main concern was if it would work or not I actually was more disappointed about the areas that didn't bruise.
2 weeks later I was so excited to see my red spots fading. I would say after the first treatment the area around the neck and chest improved by about 80% while the arm/hand area only saw about a 15% improvement after the first treatment. I wish I would have taken a before picture but I'd always been covering the neck/chest area with make up and wasn't expecting to get treated on the same day as my consult so the first picture I have is 2 weeks after the first treatment and the chest/neck area has already majorly improved there.
I just went back for a second treatment. We upped the intensity on both chest as well as arm and I can see more bruising on the arm this time so I am hopeful there will be more change this time. As much as the chest area faded last time I am really expecting this will be the last treatment for chest and neck! :)
Here's what I noticed: the laser seems to work better the lighter your skin is. Suntan seems to make it a little less effective.
For example my arm on top was very tan and after the first treatment showed very little improvement on top but more on the underside where I had less sun exposure. Same with the chest/neck. The spots on my chest almost completely disappeared after the first treatment but spots further up towards the neck stayed more noticable.
So after the first treatment I slathered myself in suntan lotion for those 6 weeks in between treatments in hopes of losing some tan on my arms. In retrospect February at the end of turtleneck season might be the perfect time to have this done to make it most effective.
Lucky for me my insurance covered most of the first treatment. I hope they will again for this treatment. I was prepared to self pay so that was a nice surprise. I wouldn't even have thought of it if the doctor hadn't mentioned it.
Anyway: sorry for the super long review. I am just so excited. I've always been self conscious about my birthmarks and to have them gone or greatly reduced in just a few months after covering them up for so many years is just wonderful!