A port wine stain is a type of birthmark. It is an irregularly shaped, reddish, flat area of blood vessels on the surface of the skin.
The cause of port wine stains is unknown. They are composed of enlarged capillaries in the skin. About 3 of every 1000 babies born has one or more of them..At first, port wine stains are flat. Over time, lumps and bumps can occur on the surface of the birthmark.
Port wine stains are flat, reddish birthmarks that generally occur on the face, but may involve any part of the body. Most port wine stains have no other symptoms.
A port wine stain on the face can be a part of Sturge-Weber syndrome. This syndrome also involves problems with blood vessels in the eyes and brain. However, a port wine stain does not usually mean that Sturge-Weber syndrome is present.
There are no ways to prevent port wine stains.
Port wine stains are diagnosed by examination. A healthcare provider may look for signs of a broader disease that may be related to the port wine stain.
If they are left alone, port wine stains will become thickened over time.
Port wine stains are not contagious.
Laser surgery can be done to close off blood vessels supplying the port wine stain. This kind of treatment should be used when the port wine stain is still flat, before it becomes thicker.
Bruising and discoloration can occur right after laser treatment. Repeated treatments are usually needed.
If treated early, port wine stains improve dramatically.
Monitoring is based on appearance alone, unless the port wine stain is part of some other underlying condition. Larger ones are usually referred to a dermatologist.