Port-wine stains. An assessment of 5 years of treatment

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1996 Nov;122(11):1174-9. doi: 10.1001/archotol.1996.01890230022005.


Objective: To assess objectively the results of flashlamp-pumped dye laser treatment of port-wine stains (PWS).

Design: Pretreatment and posttreatment photographs were compared with the appearance of the lesion at follow-up examination. Clinical response was determined by assigning a percentage of lesional lightening score by 2 physicians and the patient, and by reflectance spectrophotometric measurements.

Setting: University and university-affiliated health center.

Patients: One hundred two patients (118 PWS) aged 1 month to 66 years (mean, 20 years; median, 16 years) treated from July 1, 1989, to June 30, 1994.

Results: Eighteen (15.3%) of the 118 PWS had more than 90% lesional lightening (complete or almost complete response), 77 (65.3%) had lightening from 50% to 90% (good response), 21 (17.8%) had lightening from 11% to 49% (poor response), and 2 (1.7%) had lightening less than 10% (no response). Clinical response did not vary among age groups, but showed statistically significant differences between anatomical locations. A return of PWS after initial response was observed in patients who were seen more than 1 year following completion of treatment.

Conclusions: Treatment of PWS by flashlamp-pumped dye laser results in a good to complete response in most patients. Anatomical location of the lesion is a valuable prognostic indicator of response to treatment. The initially impressive results of flashlamp-pumped dye laser treatment of PWS may be tempered by the gradual return of the vascular lesion as time elapses after completion of therapy. Our experience indicates that PWS show a tendency to recur at a rate approaching 50% between 3 and 4 years after completion of treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Facial Dermatoses / surgery*
  • Hamartoma / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Laser Therapy / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Spectrophotometry