Patients with a condition called tuberous sclerosis may develop small red bumps on their face, especially on the nose and cheeks.
This condition was formerly called adenoma sebaceum because the bumps were thought to be composed of oil glands, but they are actually made of blood vessels and connective tissue. They are now properly called angiofibromas. Although the bumps are benign, they can enlarge slowly and cause significant textural changes to the skin.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) laser therapy is a very effective way to vaporize these skin lesions. Patients and their parents should understand that the treatment is not curative and it is not possible to make the skin completely smooth. However, improvement may be dramatic, and the laser treatments can be repeated for recurrent angiofibromas.
The pulsed yellow dye laser may help to lighten the reddish pigmentation, but it does not flatten the bumps. For this reason, the CO2 laser treatment tends to be preferred by patients.