Port wine stain (PWS) birthmarks are congenital vascular malformations of the skin. PWS birthmarks are identified through dilation of capillary network, which causes the region affected to vary in colour from pale pink, red to deep purple.
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Vascular Laser technologies that use wavelengths that are attracted to the haemoglobin of the vascular network are the most effective in treatment of PWS birthmarks. The laser treatment causes damage to vessel walls, resulting in the collapse of vessels and clearance of colour in the treated area.
In the past the Pulsed Dye Laser with wavelength 595nm was used, whereas more recently vascular technology utilizing the longer wavelength 1064nm for its depth of penetration and the more shallow 532nm is now the most effective treatment.
The Port Wine stain gradually fades over a course of laser treatments. The chilled tip of the laser maintains surface cooling as the laser passes through the laser crystal tip to target the vascular network. In some cases PWS presents with raised bumps; these may be treated with ablative laser technology or fine needle diathermy to flatten them down. Although gradual fading occurs, full clearance is not always possible. However, at Melbourne Laser & Aesthetic Centre the expert Dermal Clinicians use a range of laser technologies to optimize results.