Best Treatment for Port Wine Stain Birthmark?

I have a large port wine stain on right leg covering 50%. What are procedure available? How much would it cost?

Doctor Answers 2

Pulse dye laser

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Yes, a series of pulse dye laser is probably the best option. You will require multiple treatments over a year at least. As Dr Burns eluded, port wine stains on the limbs do require more treatments, and some can be resistant to treatment all together. Regardless, a test spot will reveal if this laser can be successful. 

All the best
Hope that helps, Dr Davin LimDermatologist, Cosmetic and Laser Brisbane, AUSTRALIA

Pulsed dye laser to remove Port Wine Stains

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I recommend a series of laser treatments with the Pulsed Dye Laser to remove Port Wine Stains which are also known as capillary vascular malformations. The pulsed dye laser targets the oxyhemoglobin molecule in blood which makes it very effective in treating vascular lesions such as a port wine stain. Generally, the further away your birthmark is from your heart the less effective it can be removed. However, I have many patients with port wine stains on their arms and legs which have responded well.

I recommend using some sort of cooling device such as a Zimmer Air Cooler which protects your skin from laser burns. The cooling also makes the treatment more comfortable and allows the laser to be used more aggressively.

In general, the pulsed dye laser will fade an average port wine stain 70 - 80% in 7 - 8 treatments. It penetrates the skin very superfically (0.7mm) making it less useful in thicker port wine stains. For difficult port wine stains (thicker) I combine the pulsed dye laser with the Nd:YAG laser which penetrates the skin more deeply.

The pulsed dye laser can also recognize melanin in the skin making it difficult to use on darker skin types or tan skin. Sun exposure after pulsed dye laser can also lead to darkening of the skin.

John L. Burns Jr., MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

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