A port-wine stain (nevus flammeus), is commonly referred to as a birthmark.
Port-wine stains are generally present throughout the individuals life, the marked skin grows with the individual. In most cases port-wine stains occur on the face however they can be present any where on the body. The colouration of the stain also develops as the individual matures strarting with as a flat pinkish colour through childhood, deeping ass the child develops. In adulthood the mark may thickening or develop small lumps. Port-wine stains are named for their coloration, which is similar in color to Port-wine, a fortified red wine from Portugal.
Port wine birth mark is generally diagnosed at birth. The location of the stain on the body generally indicates if the mark is harmless or something more serious. If a stain is located around the eyes or forehead it could indicate a neurological disorder known as Sturge- Weber Syndrome. Stains on the eyelids may be an indication of increased pressure in the eye, glucomea. Port wine birthmark stain on the limbs could indicate Klippel- Trenauney syndrome which affects the development of blood vessels, soft tissues and bones.
It is caused by a vascular abnormality (a capillary malformation in the skin). Port wine stains may also be a symptom of Sturge- Weber Syndrome, glucoma or klippel – trenauney syndrome.
Many treatments have been tried for port-wine stains including freezing, surgery, radiation, and tattooing; port-wine stains can also be covered with cosmetics.
Lasers may be able to destroy the capillaries without significant damage to the overlying skin. Lasers and other light sources may therefore be able to reduce the redness of stains, although there is not enough evidence to recommend one form over another.
For most people in trials of pulsed dye laser, more than 25% of the redness was reduced by laser after one to three treatments. Adverse effects were rare in these trials, although some people had changes to the color of the skin, especially Chinese people with darker skin. There can be pain, crusting, and blistering in the two weeks after treatment. The trials only followed people for six months, so long-term outcomes are not known. Up to ten treatments may be necessary for improvement, but complete removal may not result.
The use of topical rapamycin as an adjunct to pulsed dye laser may improve results. 
Treatment is generally given before one year of age. However, as it is recommended to be performed under anesthesia (15 minutes) on small children, it is not always possible to get frequent treatments. For example in Finland a child gets treated 2-3 times per year, resulting in a target of “being ready before school age” (7 years).
After the laser treatment, the skin is filled with black marks, the size of a pen. This is due to the laser instrument’s size; the black marks disappear within 1–3 weeks. The treated area can be sore and swollen for a couple of days.
In the absence of successful treatment, hypertrophy (increased tissue mass) of the stains may cause problems later in life, such as loss of function (especially if the stain is near the eye or mouth), bleeding, and increasing disfigurement. Lesions on or near the eyelid can be associated with glaucoma. If the port-wine stain is on the face or other highly visible part of the body, its presence can also cause emotional and social problems for the affected person.
It is suggested that gene therapy might be used as a cure in the future.
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