Port-Wine Stain and Birthmark Removal
A port-wine stain (nevus flammeus) is a birthmark consisting of tiny blood vessel malformations that connect the veins to the arteries (capillaries) located in the upper levels of the skin. Through laser treatment, port-wine stains can be significantly lightened. Laser treatments are very successful with all types of birthmark removal.
A port wine stain is an irregularly shaped vascular malformation with prominent deep layer dermal blood vessels which are present at birth (birthmark) and vary in size and shape. These irregularly shaped patches range in color from light pink to red to dark red-violet and darken with age. Generally, the malformation is confined to the skin. Essentially, the deep vessels and capillaries are enlarged and dilated. Port-wine stains do not regress.
A port-wine stain, usually located on the neck, face, and scalp, occurs in about 0.5% of newborns.(More than one-third of infants are born with a pink patch at the nape of the neck or on the eyelids which fade and disappear. These are not true Port-wine stains.)
The lesions are congenital, the cause is unknown and are diagnosed mainly by their appearance.
A port wine stain's texture can change gradually from smooth to thickened and pebbled. As a child grows, the area involved tends to increase proportionally. As time goes on, progression of the malformation can occur and develop into a cosmetic disfigurement. With further aging, the color deepens, nodular and papular type hemangiomas develop, causing increased disfigurement and irregularity of the skin texture.
Infants with a port-wine stain that involves the upper and lower eyelids usually undergo a MRI brain scan to help Dr. Valente diagnose or exclude Sturge-Weber syndrome. Approximately 5% of infants with a port-wine stain on the eyelids are at risk of this condition, in which the lesion involves the trigeminal nerve, the eye, the meninges (thin membrances surrounding the brain), and the brain. Seizures occur in about 80% of those afflicted. Glaucoma, developmental delays, and partial paralysis are other aspects of Sturge-Weber syndrome.
An extensive port-wine stain on a limb can result in varicose veins and locally enlarged skin, tissues, and bones. This is a very rare condition called Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome.
Dr. Valente uses laser treatments which offer safe and effective treatment for port-wine stain and birthmark removal. Pulsed-dye laser offers safe and effective treatment. New treatments using the YAG laser provides relief as well. The Vasculight YAG laser is able to penetrate deep into the skin, targeting the red pigment and blood vessels. The laser works by vaporizing the tissues without harming the surrounding area.
Treatment success depends on the age at which it is begun and the location of the lesion. With multiple treatments, most port-wine stains can be significantly lightened. Several laser treatments are usually required. A maintenance program may be needed, as these type of birthmarks can reappear.
Dr. Valente may use topical, local, or general anesthesia if needed to minimize discomfort.
Additional information on the port-wine stain removal
Port-wine stain removal before and after photos