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What is a Port Wine Stain?
Port wine stains are discolorations of the skin caused by a capillary malformation or A port wine stain, also known as a nevus flammeus, is a type of birthmark characterized by its pink, red, or purple coloration. These birthmarks are typically present at birth and appear as flat, well-defined patches on the skin. The name "port wine stain" is derived from the fact that the color of these birthmarks can resemble the deep red or purple hue of port wine.
Port wine stains are typically caused by abnormal blood vessels near the surface of the skin. Unlike other types of birthmarks, such as hemangiomas, which are usually raised and tend to resolve over time, port wine stains often persist and do not fade away on their own. They can occur anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the face and neck.
While port wine stains are generally harmless and painless, they can be of cosmetic concern, especially if they are large or located on a prominent part of the body. Various treatment options are available to manage port wine stains, including laser therapy, which can help to lighten or remove the discoloration, though complete removal may not always be achievable. The choice of treatment depends on the individual and the characteristics of the birthmark. It's important for individuals with port wine stains to consult a medical professional to determine the best course of action for their specific case.
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Where do they appear?
Port Wine Stains occur most often on the face but can appear anywhere on the body, particularly on the neck and upper trunk. Early stains are usually flat and pink in appearance. As the person matures, the color may deepen to a dark red or purplish color. In adulthood, thickening of the lesion or the development of small lumps may occur.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How effective is laser treatment?
Studies show an improvement in the appearance of port-wine stains ranging from 75 percent to 100 percent after a series of laser treatment sessions. Recent advances in technology and treatment protocols allow for increased lightening and clearing of port-wine stains. One study revealed close to 90 percent clearance when treatment began in infancy.
When should treatment begin?
In our experience, early intervention can make a significant difference. We prefer to initiate treatment during early infancy—at intervals of four to six weeks (the same parameter for adults). This window of opportunity during infancy provides a better chance in completely clearing vascular birthmarks.
What are the medical reasons for treating port-wine stains with laser technology?
Port-wine stains are progressive vascular malformations of the skin, meaning the deformity will grow larger and more noticeable over time. Treating port-wine stain birthmarks with laser technology such as our GentleMax Pro helps to make the port-wine stain smaller in size and in some cases, completely disappear. In children, port-wine stains are reddish discolorations of the skin. However, as the patients get older, the lesions tend to darken progressively to purple. By adulthood, they often become raised because of the development of vascular papules, or nodules, that resemble cobblestones. These changes in color and contour are caused by the progressive dilation of the abnormal blood vessels.
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