Port Wine Stain Birthmark Cause, Treatment & Removal

Port Wine Stain Birthmark Cause, Treatment & Removal

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There are many types of birthmarks. When some are only on the surface of the skin and only appear as some skin discoloration, others are large and appear as growths on the skin. It is therefore important to learn be in a position to answer the question what is a port wine stain birthmark? We learn this before proceeding to details on port wine birthmark removal and port wine stain treatment. We also look at port wine birthmarks on babies and port wine stain sturge weber syndrome later on in this post.

A port-wine stain normally is either a purple or red mark on the skin which darkens to look like some wine was spilled on the skin with time. This is usually visible from birth and is present in about 3 out of 1000 babies. They are mostly found on the face but can occur on any other part of the body.

Port Wine Birthmark Cause

The main port wine birthmark cause is a localization of faulty blood vessels. These may result from damaged nerve supply to the blood vessels. This makes the blood capillaries to remain dilated all the time since the nerve impulses responsible for dilation and constriction of the vessels are lost. As a result, there is a greater than normal blood flow which leads to formation of a stain beneath the skin. Exposure to ultraviolet light may cause port wine stains to develop later after birth.

Port Wine Stain Birthmark Removal through surgery

Many port wine stain birthmark removal techniques have been tried over the years. These have included radiation, surgery and freezing. Tattooing has also been a way of concealing the birthmarks. While surgery may work in birthmarks that have grown too large with time, it normally is not the best choice.

Surgery is used for port wine stain birthmark removal when they have grown too large and are no longer smooth. This though can be prevented if treatment is done in the early years. The treatment will get rid of the birthmark and it will not be necessary to carry out birthmark removal procedures.

At this age, the stain will still be smooth enough to be treated using laser treatment therapy which is the most successful means of eliminating port wine birth marks. This method is safe enough for small babies and causes minimal if any damage to the skin.

Port Wine Stain Treatment

Though port wine stain birthmarks may get better with age, they never totally disappear. One may require treatment to get rid of it. For most people, laser treatment tends to be the treatment of choice.

Port wine stain laser treatment

Before and after facial laser therapy
Before and after facial laser therapy

Laser treatment is suitable for people of all ages. It works best in children since at this stage the birthmark will be new and flat. Though it works in adults too, the method will take more sessions to be effective since the mark will have become raised and bumpy.

The treatment also works best on flat surfaces such as the face as opposed to legs and hands.The state of the port wine stain birthmark also determines how well it will work. Paler marks have a greater chance while darker ones may require more than one session for excellent results.

The process is generally painless but the patient may feel some stinging sensation around the area where the treatment is being done. Young children may need to be sedated while older people will undergo the treatment under local anesthesia.

Depending on the size of the mark, more than one treatment will be necessary. These could go up to ten in number. They are given after every eight weeks.

Port Wine Stain Birthmark Pictures

To get a clear understanding of how port wine stain birthmarks look like, sample the pictures of port wine stain birthmark.

Port wine stain on the hand
Port wine stain on the hand
Port wine stain on the lip
Port wine stain on the lip
Port wine stain on the leg
Port wine stain on the leg
Port wine birthmark on the face
Port wine birthmark on the face

Port Wine Birthmarks on Babies

Port wine birthmarks on babies are found in about 3 of every 1000 newborns. These start off light but darken with time as the baby grows.

Port wine birthmarks on face are most common but it is also possible to have port wine birthmarks on legs, neck, arms and scalp. They usually are different in size and

get larger in equal proportion as the baby’s growth. In childhood, they are usually flat and smooth. As one matures, they develop and thicken. They stop being smooth but feel like some pebbles under the skin.

Port wine before after removal
Port wine before after removal

This may necessitate treatment of the same to even them out. Laser treatments are safe enough for babies as young as six months and can make port wine stain birthmarks less noticeable and at times to disappear. This will help to boost their self-esteem. More than one session will be required and at times follow up therapies may also be necessary.

It would be wise to get treatment for port wine birthmarks on babies when they are still small and not self-conscious. This will save them the embarrassment in future. This is also the best time as laser treatment will be most effective.

Port Wine Stain Sturge Weber

Sturge weber syndrome
Sturge weber syndrome

Port wine stain Sturge Weber syndrome is a neurological and skin disorder. The disorder ischaracterized by port-wine stains birthmarks affecting the skin. It is associated with seizures, weakness on either side of the body, glaucoma and intellectual impairment.

In the year 2013, the New England Journal of Medicine published some game changing discovery about it. After 25 years of extensive research, it has been revealed that port wine stain sturge weber syndrome is caused by somatic mutation. This has helped erase doubts on whether the syndrome could be hereditary. The discovery will go a long way in helping to discover treatment for the syndrome and marks a great milestone in the treatment of the syndrome.

At the moment, there are limited treatment options for children with port wine syndrome. It mostly consists of medication to alleviate the symptoms. This includes eye drops, medication to reduce seizures and physical rehabilitation.

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