A port-wine stain is a birthmark in which swollen blood vessels create a reddish-purplish discoloration of the skin.
Port-wine stains occur in about 3 out of 1,000 people. Port-wine stains rarely may be a sign of Sturge-Weber syndrome or Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome.
Early port-wine stains are usually flat and pink in appearance. As the child gets older, the color may deepen to a dark red or purplish color. They occur most often on the face but can appear anywhere on the body. Over time, the area can become thickened and take on a cobblestone-like appearance.
Exams and Tests
Your doctor can usually diagnose a port wine stain by looking at the skin.
Laser treatment has been the most successful at eliminating port-wine stains. It is the only method that can destroy the tiny blood vessels in the skin without significantly damaging the skin. The exact type of laser used depends on the person’s age and particular port-wine stain.