What is a Port Wine Stain?
A Port Wine Stain (PWS) is an irregularly shaped, red or violaceous, macular capillary malformation that is present at birth and never disappears spontaneously.  They occur in .1 to .3% of newborns.  They most commonly involve the face and present unilaterally.  The capillary malformation is usually confined to the skin and is an isolated anomaly.  However, they may be associated with developmental defects.

What is the clinical course of PWS?
A PWS does not regress spontaneously and the area of involvement tends to increase in proportion to the size of the child.  In adulthood, the lesion often becomes raised with papular and nodular areas causing significant and progressive cosmetic disfigurement.

What is the treatment?
Laser treatment, specifically the flashlamp pulsed dye laser, is used to lighten and often resolve the PWS in 50 to 75 percent of patients, especially with early, lighter lesions.  The particular response of facial PWS depends on location, size, and age of the patient.

Wolff K, Johnson, RA.  Fitzpatrick’s Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology. Sixth Edition. 2009.