A port-wine stain is birthmark in which swollen blood vessels cause a reddish-purplish discoloration of the skin. It often affects the facial region. Port-wine stains occur in about 3 out of 1,000 people. Port-wine stains may be a sign of Sturge-Weber syndrome or Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome. Port-wine stains are present at birth and persist throughout life. The area of skin affected grows in proportion to general growth. The incidence is 3 out of 1,000 people. Port-wine stains occur most often on the face but can appear anywhere on the body. Early stains are usually flat and pink in appearance. As the child 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.
Port wine stains vary in size from a few millimetres across to many centimetres. Early port-wine stains are usually flat and pink in appearance. As the child gets older, the color may deepen to a dark red or purplish color. They occur most often on the face but can appear anywhere on the body. There is a sharp line between the port wine stain and normal skin. Their colour can vary from pale red to deep purple. A port wine stain is a localised blood vessel problem. Tiny blood vessels can normally narrow (constrict) or widen (dilate) depending on circumstances. This allows different amounts of blood to the skin surface. The more blood, the redder the skin. Treatments have been tried for port-wine stains, including freezing, surgery, radiation, and tattooing.
Laser treatment (such as the flashlamp-pumped-pulsed dye laser) can be very effective. It is the only method that can destroy the tiny blood vessels in the skin without significantly damaging the skin. Scarring is an uncommon side-effect with modern lasers. It used to be more of a problem with older lasers. Topical EMLA cream is oftentimes used for anesthesia on the areas to be treated. Treatment of infants with the flashlamp pumped dye laser generally produces marked improvement in appearance though complete disappearance is rare. Compression stockings or bandaging to reduce swelling and protect from injury. Aspirin, and sometimes anticoagulants such as warfarin, to prevent clots. Bone shortening operation if a limb is more than 2 cm longer than its pair.
Port Wine Stains Treatment Tips
1. Cosmetic or camouflage creams are often very helpful.
2. Laser therapy has been the most successful at destroying stains.
3. Compression stockings or bandaging to reduce swelling and protect from injury.
4. Aspirin, and sometimes anticoagulants such as warfarin, to prevent clots.
5. Resection or ligation (tying-off) of abnormal blood vessels.
6. Bone shortening operation if a limb is more than 2 cm longer than its pair.
7. Amputation of a very abnormal digit (finger or thumb) or limb.