Pulsed Dye Laser Used in Combination Therapy for Port Wine Stains


Patients who have port wine stains can find relief with treatment from the Pulsed Dye Laser.

By Keith Veseleny, Editor

Port wine stains and birthmarks can be difficult to live with. About 1% of the population are born with port wine stains, which are vascular birthmarks that usually occur on the face, but can be present anywhere on the body. They are dark in color, and are so named because of their similarity to the color of port wine. Other noticeable birthmarks can also be an embarrassing ailment to live with. Luckily, those who suffer from birthmarks now have treatments available to diminish the marks and make them less noticeable.

"There are a lot of people who have these severe discolorations, and what I think a lot of people don't understand is that even babies can start being treated as soon as they leave the hospital," says Dr. Lori Brightman. "It's very safe and although it takes multiple treatments, it's with a laser called the Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL)." The PDL emits specific wavelengths of light which are targeted for the red pigment in the blood which causes port wine stains and certain birthmarks. The treatment spares the other surrounding skin so it's considered to be very safe.

port wine stain treatment
Actual Port Wine Stain Treatment Results of Dr. Lori Brightman

"It's safe for the child even if it's around their eyes. We can use eye shields and they will show a progressive reduction of their birthmark with each successive treatment. Even adults who have their port wine stains to this day can start undergoing treatment," describes Dr. Brightman.

While PDL offers a good treatment for port wine stains, for other kinds of new combination therapies may be more effective. Dr. Brightman has been investigating a new treatment option. "I'm looking at a combination treatment with bipolar fractional radio frequency which is the eMatrix in conjunction with Pulse Dye Laser and the early results show we are seeing a greater result. Hopefully we'll be able to publish shortly about this new technique." The eMatrix uses radio frequency to deliver targeted heat therapy to the skin without damaging the surface of the skin.
port wine stain treatment results
Actual Port Wine Stain Treatment Results of Dr. Lori Brightman

Treatments with the PDL are not considered to be painful. Many patients compare it to a snap on the skin with a rubber band, even without using any topical anesthetic. Many physicians do offer the anesthetic though to patients who prefer it. There may be redness and swelling which will persist for several days so it's best not to schedule any social commitments for a few days following treatment.