Port Wine Stains
Port wine stains are also called as Naevus flammeus. It is a vascular birthmark made up of superficial and deep dilated capillaries in the skin which produce reddish to purplish discoloration of the skin. They are so called for their color, resembling that of Port wine. It is part of the family of disorders known as vascular malformations. These are always present at birth. In the past these lesions were erroneously called "capillary hemangiomas." Port Wine Stains occur in .3% of births and occur equally among males and females. Port wine stains vary in size from a few millimeters across to many centimeters. There is a sharp line between the port wine stain and normal skin. If left untreated, port wine stains tend to darken over the years as the blood flow through them becomes more sluggish. The overlying skin is smooth and flat at first. By middle age the overlying skin may become thickened and lumpy.
- Port-wine stains (PWS) are present at birth.
- A port wine stain is a localized blood vessel problem. Tiny blood vessels can normally narrow or widen depending on circumstances. This allows different amounts of blood to the skin surface. The more blood in vessels, redder is the skin. Normal skin goes pale when we are cold i.e. blood vessels constrict and goes bright red when we blush i.e. blood vessels dilate.
- Port-Wine Stains are not contagious and you can not catch it from anyone.
- These are usually present at birth.
- These are a flat pink-to-purplish lesion on skin in infants.
- These are most commonly seen on face and neck but may occur on trunk or extremities.
- In older child these are with a slightly more reddish to purplish lesion, flat to slightly raised
- Usually no treatment is needed as these are harmless, painless and itch less. But if they grow quickly and cause itching and pain or show some extraordinary symptoms then treatment is needed. Some people want treatment for cosmetic reasons.
- Cryotherapy: In this treatment the physician applies liquid nitrogen on the infected area and freezes it. And after this it is removed itself.
- Laser treatment: A special fine laser can destroy the tiny widened blood vessels. Treatment may not clear the port wine stain completely. However, in over 6 in 10 cases there are good or excellent results from modern laser treatment.
- Skin camouflage: This is a common way of covering port wine stains. Special colored cover creams can be put on port wine stains to improve the skin's appearance. The aim is to find a color to match the normal skin.
- The flash lamp pumped dye laser, a yellow light laser, has been the most successful at destroying stains in infants and young children. Two other yellow light lasers the copper vapor and krypton laser have been used successfully in adults.
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