Lasers are primarily used to treat the vesicles (small blisters) that appear on the surface of the tongue and mucosa of the mouth. We use a CO2 laser for this. These patients experience significant symptoms as a consequence of these vesicles. Vesicles frequently rupture and blood-stained lymph will leak from these sites. In addition to this, these patients are unable to eat any acidic, carbonated or spicy foods since they experience a burning sensation.
Since the lymphatic malformation may involve the entire thickness of the tongue, this treatment may not be curative, but it significantly improves the quality of life of the patient. The treatment is administered under general anesthetic and is usually done every few years. After a patient heals, most or all of the vesicles disappear.
Another treatment is transmucosal injection of bleomycin sclerotherapy. This new treatment has been very effective by shrinking the tongue to a normal size and returning the mucosa to normal.