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Vascular Birthmarks & Malformations: Conditions & Treatments

About one in 10 babies is born with a vascular malformation, although not all are evident at birth. These birthmarks are caused by a dense grouping of blood vessels at or just beneath the surface of the skin. Some may appear as pink, red or purple patches, and may shrink as a child ages. Others continue to grow and spread.

To ensure the best possible therapeutic outcome, patients benefit from the combined expertise of an experienced team of specialists who can manage the treatment of port-wine stains and other vascular malformations.

The physicians at the UC Irvine Health Vascular Birthmarks & Malformations Diagnostic and Treatment Center are leaders in the treatment of patients of all ages with vascular birthmarks or malformations.


Our multidisciplinary team specializes in laser surgery and other treatments for the following vascular skin conditions:
  • Port-wine stain
  • Hemangioma
  • Venous malformation
  • Arteriovenous malformation
  • Lymphatic malformation
  • Tuberous sclerosis complex
  • Sturge-Weber syndrome
  • Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome
  • Cutis marmorata telangiectatica congenita (CMTC)
  • PHACE syndrome
  • Facial spider veins (telangiectasias)
  • Angiomas
  • Rosacea

Early intervention with laser treatment can make a significant difference, particularly with port-wine stains. 

Learn more about port-wine stain treatment ›

Some pigmented birthmarks also respond to laser treatment, including:
  • Nevus of Ota
  • Nevus of Ito
  • Congenital melanocytic nevi
Laser surgery also can be effective in removing decorative and cosmetic tattoos, as well as marks left by traumatic injuries, including asphalt burns.


The center's director, Dr. J. Stuart Nelson, developed a now-standard cryogen spray cooling (CSC) device that has improved laser surgery treatment for disfiguring birthmarks and other skin conditions. The technology has been adopted in more than 20,000 laser devices worldwide.

The center, located at the Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic on the university campus in Irvine, provides:

  • The most advanced laser and other surgical treatment approaches
  • Ongoing assistance with primary care and specialty physicians

Our team

We  have a multidisciplinary team of laser surgeons, dermatologists, head and neck surgeons, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, diagnostic radiologists and interventional radiologists, all of whom work together to ensure the best outcome for each of our patients.


The center also provides these patient services:

  • Consultation and diagnosis
  • Second opinions
  • The latest scientific information about port-wine stains and other vascular anomalies, birthmarks and malformations
  • Referrals to support and networking groups
  • Information about insurance coverage and other matters relating to receiving care
  • An active program of basic and clinical research

Clinic hours

  • Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8 a.m.—5 p.m.
  • Wednesdays and Fridays, 7 a.m.—4 p.m.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call us at 949-824-7997.

Make an Appointment