Port-wine stains or birthmarks
Port-wine stains are congenital malformations of the superficial skin vessels having a larger diameter and so more blood flows through the skin. This gives the typical red skin color. Another name sometimes used is Naevus flammeus.
The port-wine stain can occur in several different red colors. Most of the time the color varies from pink to purple. During aging the blood vessels widen more and more.
Related to port-wine stain is the Sturge-Weber Syndrome. This is a very rare condition occurring in 1 in 200.000 persons. Associated with this condition are multiple malformations of the blood vessels in the scalp and brains. These can cause epileptic seizures and atrophy (melting away) of tissues. It is unclear what causes this syndrome; treatment consists of surgery combined with sclerotherapy in a specialized medical center.
Laser treatment is the main treatment for port-wine stains. However this is not always successful. Medical tattooing can camouflage the port-wine stain with a pigment which comes as close as possible to the own skin color. Generally, we see and treat patients in whom the laser treatment was not successful.
Port-wine stains vary in size and also the place where wine stains appear on the body may vary. They are mostly seen on the head arms and legs.
With medical tattoo we try to camouflage the wine stain as much as possible, it should look good on “communication distance”. Because not every port-wine stain is suitable for medical tattoo, we always start with a “trial piece” in order to assess whether the pigments stay in place and whether the chosen color is good.
After six weeks, we can see whether the pigments stays in the skin and if the chosen color is okay. If so, we can start the treatment.
The number of treatments depends on the size of the port-wine stain. Most patients we treat with local anesthetic, but it is also possible to treat patients under general anesthesia.
Photos of a port-wine stain-treatment: