Port-Wine Stain(Nevus Flammeus)

Tabatha Stadler

My Patient

My patient was Karen who has a dark pigmented area on her forehead that she has had since birth and is embarrassed about it so she covers it with extra makeup


I diagnosed my patient with a hemangioma, or port-wine stain. a birthmark that grows during the first year of life and fades over time. It can appear on the face, scalp, chest, or back.

What causes the Port-Wine Stain?

Port-wine stains happen when an area of skin doesn't get any (or an insufficient) supply of nerve fibers, which normally help keep blood vessels narrow. When there's a lack of nerve fibers, small blood vessels (called capillaries) keep expanding, allowing a greater amount of blood to flow into the blood vessels, causing a stain to form under the skin. Birthmarks that form like this are called vascular birthmarks.


Port-Wine stains really do not have many symptoms because it is a birthmark, if you see the dark pigmented area on your face, it's safe to assume your child has a Port-Wine Stain. It doesn't usually associate with pain or discomfort it's just sometimes an embarrassing rash looking mark.

  • dark pigmented area
  • birthmark
  • bleeding
  • Eye problems: may develop if the port-wine stain is on the eyelid area. If a child has a port-wine stain next to an eye then an eye specialist will normally check the child regularly until they are adult.


The good news is that lasers (highly concentrated light energy) can make many kids' port-wine stains much lighter, especially when the birthmark is on the head or neck. Dermatologist or plastic surgeons usually give several treatments with the laser of choice for port-wine stains called a "pulsed-dye" laser.

For port-wine stains that have become bumpy, thick, or raised, doctors sometimes need to use another type of laser or surgery. Port-wine stains can also develop grape-like growths of small blood vessels called vascular blebs — these aren't usually cause for concern but they often bleed and may need to be removed.

  • laser treatment
  • surgery
  • oral meds- anti-inflammatory

Life Effects

  • embarrassment- is pretty much the only major life effect because it can be easily covered with makeup or treated.


Port-Wine stains are not curable but there is a way to diminish the look of them like I said in treatment. For most children they are just embarrassing. To help your child feel more at ease with their disorder you can just tell them that it isn't anything big and there are things to fix it.