Port Wine Stain
Port wine stains can diminish your self-esteem, but the laser technology available at Laser & Skin Surgery Center of Pennsylvania can improve these large birthmarks to restore your confidence.
- Downtime: Minimal
- Pain Level: Minimal
- Results Duration: Long-Lasting
Port wine stains on the face, hands, arms, and legs
Mild tenderness, redness, and bruising that should subside within days
Used on the face, hands, arms, and legs
May need more than one treatment to reach optimal results
Handpiece delivers laser energy to the stain
Topical, local, or general anesthesia may be administered, but is often not needed
Reduction or erradication of lesion
Results apparent after final treatment session
Port Wine Stain Treatment
At Laser & Skin Surgery Center of Pennsylvania, we offer complete laser treatments for infants, children, and adults with port wine stains. Laser therapy is the most effective solution for reducing discoloration from port wine stains. In most instances, Jordan V. Wang, MD, MBE, MBA and his team of board-certified dermatologists perform a number of laser treatment sessions to improve port wine stains.
How successful treatment is often depends on the location and extent of the lesion. Since port wine stains tend to darken and thicken over time, sometimes resulting in sudden bleeding, we recommend treatment as early as possible. We treat port-wine stains with a careful selection of lasers and routinely work with infants and toddlers.
The physicians at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of Pennsylvania are experts in the treatment of port wine stains. Dr. Wang completed his cosmetic and dermatologic surgery fellowship training at Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York in Manhattan under renowned dermatologist Roy G. Geronemus, MD, who is on the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation’s board of directors and has contributed to numerous studies on the treatment of port wine stains.
With specialized training, Dr. Wang and his team are uniquely qualified to treat even the most advanced port wine stains at our 8,000+ sq. ft. dermatology center in the greater Philadelphia area on the Main Line in Devon.
What are port wine stains?
Port wine stains are common birthmarks that can be blue, purple, pink, or red in color. While the vast majority of these birthmarks are harmless, they can point to an underlying condition, such as Sturge-Weber syndrome. In most instances, port wine stains are treated for cosmetic purposes. However, lesions can continue to grow and may even bleed and scab without receiving any treatment.
Port wine stains develop when the area’s capillaries dilate excessively. Although capillaries are extremely small blood vessels, they can accumulate enough blood to discolor the skin’s surface. Most port wine stains start out pink in color, but over time, they can darken and turn red or purple.
Although port wine stains can form anywhere on the body, they’re most frequently found on the face, scalp, neck, arms, and legs. Port wine stains rarely signify an underlying medical condition, but adults with birthmarks, as well as parents of children with port wine stains, often seek cosmetic treatment.
How do lasers treat port wine stains?
Pulsed dye lasers operate at particular wavelengths of light that allow these devices to destroy unwanted blood vessels without damaging the surrounding healthy skin. Each treatment with our state-of-the-art lasers gradually lightens and improves the appearance of port wine stains until it no longer exists.
How does laser treatment for port wine stains work?
Depending on the size and location of the port wine stain and the age of the patient, our board-certified dermatologists can perform laser therapy with a topical anesthetic, local anesthesia, or no anesthesia at all. We always recommend starting treatment early, during infancy or early childhood, for the most successful results.
In most instances, patients need multiple laser treatments to greatly improve port wine stains. However, complete elimination isn’t always feasible, especially if the birthmark is very large, thick, and dark to begin with.
All laser treatments require intervals of about 2-4 weeks in between sessions to promote healing. How many treatments a patient needs depends on many different factors, including their age, appearance, and location.
Dr. Geronemus and the physicians at Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York participated in the development of nearly all laser devices currently used to treat birthmarks. Due to his close training with experts, such as Dr. Geronemus, Dr. Wang with his team have the skill and experience needed to effectively treat port wine stains in patients of all ages.
Does laser treatment for port wine stains hurt?
Laser treatment for port wine stains shouldn’t feel intolerable. In most instances, patients report feeling as if a rubber band is snapping against their skin. Many patients don’t even need anesthetics during treatment. For those who do, our dermatologists offer a number of topical and local anesthetics to ensure the treatment is comfortable.
When Will I See Results from port wine stain treatment?
While most patients do require multiple laser treatments to significantly reduce the appearance of their port wine stain, you may notice subtle results after your first session. During your initial consultation at Laser & Skin Surgery Center of Pennsylvania, your board-certified dermatologist will create a custom treatment plan.
How much recovery time will I need after treatment?
It’s highly common for birthmarks to darken initially after laser treatment, so your port wine stain may appear purple at first. However, after 7-14 days, this discoloration should begin to lighten and fade. During this time, you may also experience redness, itching, and scabbing while your skin heals.
Swelling often affects patients with birthmarks near the eyes or upper cheeks. You can help reduce inflammation and improve comfort by elevating your head and applying ice to the treatment area.
Click here to learn more about Port Wine Stains.
“Cost Savings of In-Office Pulsed Dye Laser Treatment of Port-Wine Birthmarks Without General Anesthesia.” Dermatologic Surgery. 2021 Apr 30.
Port Wine Stain Treatment
Q: Is Port Wine Treatment Safe?
A: Port wine stain treatment at Laser & Skin surgery Center of Pennsylvania is absolutely safe and effective. Every laser used by our highly experienced and trained board-certified dermatologists is FDA-approved to treat vascular lesions like port wine stains.
Q: Are Lasers Effective At Treating Port Wine Stains?
A: Laser therapy is considered the safest, most effective treatment for port wine stains. How successful the treatment is typically depends on the location and severity of the birthmark. Early intervention is often recommended for port wine stains, as these vascular lesions tend to darken and thicken with age, which can lead to spontaneous bleeding.
Q: Which Lasers should be used for Treatment?
A: There are several lasers available for port-wine stain treatment. The most commonly used is the pulsed dye laser (Vbeam Perfecta). We also use the Cynergy laser and the Excel V. The choice of laser is based on the characteristics of the birthmark.
Q: How Effective is Laser Treatment?
A: The data from the treatment of port-wine stains is variable in terms of the clinical response. Recently published studies have shown an improvement ranging anywhere from 75-100% following a series of treatment sessions. More recently, improved technology and treatment protocols have allowed for a tendency towards more lightening and clearing of port-wine stains. A recent study from our Center revealed close to 90% clearing when treatment begins in infancy.
Q: Are There Any Side Effects From Port Wine Stain Treatment?
A: The treated area may turn dark purple or black immediately following your treatment. This discoloration will become somewhat darker over the next several hours and it will remain dark for 7 to 14 days. Surrounding this treated area, you may experience some redness and itching which should resolve within several days. It is possible that you may experience several blisters, scaling or crusting following the procedure.
If the treated area is near the upper cheek or eye, you should anticipate some swelling. If this occurs, sleep with your head elevated and apply ice packs.
Q: When Should Port Wine Stain Treatment Begin?
A: While treatment methods may differ amongst physicians, early intervention is typically the best course of action for port wine stains. The board-certified dermatologists at Laser & Skin Surgery Center of Pennsylvania often recommend initiating treatment during infancy whenever possible. However, our physicians can also perform port wine stain treatments in older children and adults.
Q: How Does Port Wine Stain Treatment in Infants Work?
Dr. Wang completed his fellowship training under the internationally recognized Dr. Geronemus, who helped pioneer port wine stain treatment in infants. As such, Dr. Wang and the board-certified physicians at Laser & Skin Surgery Center of Pennsylvania understand that early intervention is key when treating vascular lesions in infants. Not only does early intervention minimize the need for anesthesia, it may also accelerate the treatment time.
Q: Is Treatment the Same for All Port Wine Stains?
A: Some areas of the body are easier to treat than others. In many instances, port wine stains in the center of the face and on the hands, lower arms, feet, and legs are more difficult to treat than other areas.
Q: What does the Skin Look Like after Port Wine Stain Treatment?
A: Immediately after treatment, the affected skin may appear bruised. These side effects should subside within 7-14 days.
Does Port Wine Stain Treatment Require Anesthesia?
A: Parents and patients frequently ask us for our opinion on the many anesthetics available for the treatment of port wine stains. Except in really vast areas, we rarely use topical or general anesthetic on young newborns. The use of topical anaesthetic is postponed until the child is one or two years old, based on the topical anesthetic being used general anesthesia is used on a case-by-case basis for children who are difficult to work with in the office or who have huge birthmarks that take a long time to remove during surgery. When it comes to adults, topical anesthetic usually suffices to make the procedure as pain-free as possible.
Q: What Qualifications Do the Physicians at Laser & Skin Surgery Center of Pennsylvania Have?
A: The board-certified dermatologists at Laser & Skin Surgery Center of Pennsylvania have extensive training in port wine stain treatment. Dr. Wang trained under renowned dermatologist Dr. Geronemus, who is internationally recognized for the treatment of port wine stains in infants, children, and adults alike. Our physicians are constantly searching for new therapies and techniques to treat vascular lesions and regularly upgrade our laser devices for the most targeted treatments possible.
Q: Can I Join A Support Group for Patients with Vascular Birthmarks?
A: Port wine stain treatments can be taxing both physically and emotionally. There are many support groups for individuals with vascular birthmarks, like port wine stains, to help patients cope with the challenges they may face.
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Our dermatology center in the greater Philadelphia area on the Main Line in Devon, which spans more than 8,000 square feet, is a comprehensive cosmetic and medical dermatology facility. Our board-certified dermatologists are leaders in the industry who have trained under distinguished physicians to provide our patients with cutting-edge care.
laser & skin
surgery center of Pennsylvania
Monday - Friday: 8:00am - 6:00pm
Limited Saturdays: 8:00am - 12:00pm
Monday - Wednesday, Friday: 9am - 4:30pm
Thursday: 9am - 5pm
Patient Visits Before 8/23:
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*Physicians perform 100% of all medical and cosmetic treatments.