Port Wine Stains

WHAT CAUSES PORT WINE STAINS?

A port-wine stain is a birthmark that appears as a pink, red or purple patch on the skin.

It is caused by abnormal development of tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that are too wide (dilated) and allow blood to collect in them. Port-wine stains usually start out smooth and flat, but may become darker, thicker and bumpy over time .

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Lasers are used to treat port wine stains by delivering an intense beam of light that specifically targets the blood vessels that cause the discoloration. The laser light is absorbed by the blood vessels, which in turn causes the walls of the vessels to break down and eventually disappear.

The laser treatment is usually non-invasive and does not require any anesthesia. The number of treatments required will vary depending on the size and location of the port wine stain, and the effectiveness of the treatment will also depend on the individual’s skin type.

The laser treatment may cause some discomfort, but this can be managed with topical anesthetics or cooling methods during the procedure. It is also important to protect the treated area from the sun with sunscreen to prevent any further damage or discoloration.

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT DURING THE TREATMENT?

During a laser treatment to treat port wine stains, one can expect the following:

1. A local anaesthetic cream may be applied to the treatment area to minimize discomfort.

2. The laser therapist will then use a hand-held laser device to target the affected area, emitting a concentrated beam of light to destroy the abnormal blood vessels causing the port wine stain.

3. The laser treatment may cause some discomfort, which has been described as a rubber

IS THE TREATMENT PAINFUL?

In general, laser treatment for port wine stains is usually uncomfortable but not typically described as painful. Patients may experience discomfort during the procedure, but most report that the discomfort is tolerable and goes away quickly after the procedure. The discomfort can be managed with topical anesthetics, cooling sprays, or other techniques to lessen the sensation of the laser.

AFTER THE TREATMENT?

After a laser treatment to treat port wine stains, one can expect some redness, swelling, and bruising in the treated area. The skin may also feel tender for a few days and may develop crusting or scabbing.

These side effects typically subside within a few weeks. In some cases, multiple treatments may be necessary to achieve the desired results. It is important to protect the treated area from sunlight and to follow the post-treatment care instructions provided by the healthcare provider to ensure optimal healing and results.

HOW MANY SESSIONS

It depends on the size, location, and depth of the port wine stain, as well as the individual response to the treatment. Generally, multiple laser sessions are required, ranging from several treatments to 10 or more treatments.

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