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.