ZocdocAnswersDoes laser treatment work on port wine stains?

Question

Does laser treatment work on port wine stains?

Is it possible to use laser treatment to remove a 'port-wine stain type birthmark? My 12 year old child has a prominent mark of this sort on his face and as he gets older, he's becoming very self conscious about it.

Answer

Port wine stains (or nevus flammeus) are a congenital malformation of blood vessels that shows up as a dark red to purple stain on the skin, and they are very common on the face. Unlike some other 'birth marks' such as stork bites, port wine stains tend not to go away with age. Therefore, unless something is done for your child, the port wine stain is likely to stay with him. The best treatment for port wine stains involves flashlamp pulsed dye laser therapy. This therapy has been used with excellent results in children. In the majority of treated children, it eliminated or at least lightened the port wine stain. The laser has best results in smaller port wine stains than in larger ones. Unfortunately, the age of the child also predicts the effect of the laser. The laser is less effective in children older than 1 year than in those less than one year old. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to expect that the therapy will be at least of some benefit for your son. The first step would be to set up an appointment with your pediatric dermatologist to discuss your options and to arrange for treatment.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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