Port Wine Stain Birthmark Removal/Treatment, Cost, Causes +Pictures
What is a port wine stain birthmark? What causes this type of mark on your body? Is it hereditary or genetic? What is the cost of removing or treating port wine stain birthmark especially by laser method? Find more in addition to pictures
What Causes Port Wine Birthmark? Is it hereditary?
What is a port wine stain?
Clinically called nevus flammeus, a port wine stain can be defined as a swollen blood vessel or a capillary malformation on the skin. In clinical terms these malformations are called vascular anomaly, which create a reddish-purple patch on the skin of a newborn. These are also called port-wine birthmark, which usually appear on the baby’s skin at the time of its birth.
As per the records, port-wine stains occur in about 3 out of 1,000 people and generally do not develop into a hazardous health condition. However, in rare cases, port-wine stains bear the symptoms of Sturge-Weber syndrome or Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome.
Mostly they occur on face, though in many cases, they are being seen in neck and upper trunk. Normally port wine stains persist for a lifetime. As your child gets older, the stain will gradually develop into a dark red (or purple) lesion, which in the long run may develop into small lumps.
What Causes Port-Wine Stains
Port wine stains are mostly caused by random changes to gene during fetal development. Though in rare occasion the related condition of the port wine stains lead to lifelong struggles with seizures, blindness and mental disabilities. During the random genetic changes, a molecular switch takes place on and off by chemical messages received by the cell.
A vast majority of port wine stains usually occur at the time of birth, but in some rare cases it can also develop later on. Some of the most frequent causes include long-term exposure to ultraviolet light, that causes significant damage on the skin and induce changes in hormone levels. In such cases, port wine stains can be seen on the skin of an adult which can crop up serious clinical conditions like infections, rare brain tumors and conditions affecting the blood vessels inside the body.
Port wine stains are usually diagnosed by looking at the skin. However, a skin biopsy is needed in case complication comes up. Based on the stretch and location of the birthmark further tests like intraocular pressure test or x-ray of the skull are done. MRI or CT scan of brain is done if things worsen in due course.
Is Port Wine Stain Hereditary?
Apparently the port-wine stains on the kids’ skin are not of much concern if they do not continue to increase in the adulthood. They usually disappear with age. However, the abnormally dilated capillaries that continued to exist in the adulthood are mostly caused by the genetic mutation.
In the adulthood, port-wine stains usually appear to be sporadic lesions, which needs laser treatment for complete removal. In such scenarios, patients who are diagnosed with port wine spots in the adulthood have higher than expected incidence of lesions in relatives, which clearly suggests a hereditary predisposition to these malformations.
Many families have previously been reported with autosomal dominant inheritance of capillary vascular malformations. Studies reveal that in such families, port wine stains appear as a lesion with atypical distribution. The affected people in the family often develop multiple lesions on the trunk and limbs, and occasionally on the face.
Port Wine Stain Complications?
Apart from an unwanted stain or lesion on the skin, benign port wine birthmarks hardly cause any complication. However, if these stains are caused by genetic mutation following complications can crop up in the adulthood
- Eye problems: The main reason behind eye problem is the port-wine stains in the eyelid area. It’s important to keep a stern watch on the development of the stains since childhood, so that the risk of blindness can be averted right the very beginning.
- Brain abnormalities: Though pretty uncommon, the chance of brain abnormalities following a port wine stain can be dangerous. Dermatologists believe that the extensive blood vessel abnormalities in the brain (the Sturge-Weber syndrome) can have significant effect on the brain development of the child. In rare cases, epilepsy and various other nervous problems can develop.
- Spine abnormalities and varicose veins: These are mainly noticeable due to the abnormalities of the Varicose veins, which poses serious health hazard as the child grows.
However, the good news is, most of the kids do not get any complications when they grow up. However, a medical emergency is sought after, to check if there’s any chance of malignancy.
Port Wine Stain Birthmark Removal & Treatment-Laser+Cost
According to the eminent dermatologists, port-wine stains are somewhat permanent marks on the skin. They actually improve with time, but never disappear completely. In children, these marks or stains are usually removed with the help of Laser technology.
Port wine stain laser treatment & cost
Laser treatment comes in a variety of forms. Based on the nature and extent of the lesion the course of treatment is decided. However, a super fine laser can completely destroy a tiny widened (dilated) blood vessels right from the root. But, sometimes, you will need more than one sitting to get the spots completely removed. In this case, the process is repeated for several years. A laser treatment comes with following features.
- It is the best followed treatment when your kid is at a very tender age. Removing the new and flat stains is easier than removing a lesion. The minimum age of the child should be 2; else it cannot be taken for laser treatment. However, in adults, the laser technology fails to clean the spot because port wine marks growing for several years usually become fleshy and raised.
- Laser treatment works wonder for a significantly smaller position of the face. There effect is not satisfactory for arms and legs.
- Pale stains have higher chance of getting removed easily.
- Sometimes laser rays can cause unpleasant stinging. Hence, children are often given a general anesthetic or sedation so that the treatment can be carried out in a hassle free manner. In case of adults, local anesthesia can help. However, with pulsed dye laser you do not need to use any anesthesia. Doctors usually resort to a machine that cools the skin with water, from where a laser beam is emitted to destroy the dilated blood vessels.
Normally, port wine stains require ten laser treatments at a stretch to get removed completely. However, it might increase, in case the size of the vascular formation is bigger. In fact an adult also need more than ten treatments. Laser rays are given in alternate eight weeks. The doctors say that the procedures must be done by the time a child reaches his 5 years. Otherwise, the port wine stain will continue to grow beyond the limit of treatment. After each session, there might be a swelling or bruising around that area.
The costs of port wine stain removal vary widely depending on the clinics and the dermatologists, though a standard amount revolves in the sphere of $750 to $7000. In case of recurring stain, the cost doubles up.
Other ways to remove Port Wine Stain
Besides Laser, there are several other options to treat port wine stains. Surgical excision of the dilated blood capillaries is followed when the vascular formation becomes too matured to get removed by laser.
Apart from the surgery, there’s a way to cover up port-wine stains. These are special colored cover creams, which can be put on the stains. However, the application of such creams helps in improving the skin’s appearance, but make sure that you find the right cream that goes with the tone of your normal skin complexion. These are also called camouflage creams, which can disguise port-wine stains and thus boost your self-esteem.
Finally, keep in mind that port wine stains can be a simple birthmark which in the long run can develop into a potentially dangerous vascular malformation. So, the moment your child gets such a stain on its skin, consider a clinical check up, just to rule out the possibilities of any health hazards in future.
Port Wine Stain Birthmark Pictures/Images
Port Wine Stain Before and After-Adults & Babies
What do port wine stains look like before and after treatment or removal? Here are pictures or photos.
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