Visitors to The Cosmetic Medicine Centre come to us for a variety of reasons, including the removal of port wine stains. At one time, people with these distinctive facial birthmarks had a limited number of options: freezing, radiation and surgery. They offered a solution, but with that solution came the risk of scarring.
Thankfully, times have changed. Today The Cosmetic Medicine Centre is able to offer patients in Brisbane the pulsed dye vascularlaser to treat their port wine stains. It is highly effective, with a low incidence of side effects.
We’re also pleased to report that recent developments in skin cooling mean that vascular laser treatments for birthmarks at The Cosmetic Medicine Centre are more comfortable and patient friendly than ever before.
What Is a Port Wine Stain?
A port-wine stain (PWS) is a vascular lesion,meaning it is a birthmark caused by excessive and dilated capillaries. Port wine stains often appear on the face and are named for their reddish-purple colour.
According to the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation:
“PWS occurs in an estimated 3 children per 1,000 live births, affecting males and females and all racial groups equally. There appears to be no hereditary predilection for PWS within families. There are no known risk factors or ways to prevent PWS.”
Port wine skin discolorations may be present from birth, but tend to be less noticeable in babies and youngsters. They darken with age.Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachevwas perhaps the most famous figure to have such a blemish.
Several types of lasers have been used to treat port wine stains, including intense pulsed light (IPL), Alexandrite and Nd: YAG lasers. At The Cosmetic Medicine Centre, we consider the pulsed dye laser to be the gold standard in this area.
Pulsed dye lasers use yellow light wavelengths that selectively target both oxyhemoglobin and deoxyhemoglobin and can safely penetrate up to 2mm in the skin. They were specially designed to treat port wine stains and other vascular skin lesions with prominent red blood vessels.
“Pulsed dye lasers (PDL) deliver an intense burst of light into selectively targeted areas of the skin. The light is absorbed by specific blood vessels or melanin pigmented areas in the epidermis, depending on the condition being treated.” – Skin and Cancer Foundation Australia
Risks Associated with Port Wine Stain Laser Removal
Pulsed dye laser treatments are frequently administered without anaesthesia. It is considered effective for use on infants and children, as well as adults. The most common risks associated with pulsed dye laser treatment for port wine stains are