A port wine birthmark is primarily caused by an abnormal development of blood vessels and is likely to occur in about 3 out of every 1000 newborns.
Considered as a lifetime condition, the port wine birthmarks appear as flat marks that occur on the face, arms, trunk or legs. It is pink, red or purple colored and is usually considered as a lifelong condition.
These marks might also develop in association with certain syndromes, such as the Sturge Weber Syndrome, a condition that can eventually cause seizures, mental retardation and visual impairment. In fact, port wine birthmarks are often associated with an increased pressure on the eyes and due to this, it is important for children with such birthmarks to be examined by an eye specialist at regular intervals.
Medically, such port wine stain birthmarks are seen as vascular lesions that are caused by venial malformations, thus allowing the blood to pool in the affected area.
The key underlying cause of a port wine birth mark is a defect in the nerves which control the diameter of the affected blood vessels. The eventual result is an abnormal dilation, giving it an appearance of such birthmarks, port wine stains and the like.
It also helps to know that a port wine birth mark is not inherited and it doesn’t have anything to do with what the mother or the parents did during conception or the entire span of pregnancy.
Can a birthmark port wine stain be treated?
Largely considered as a lifetime condition, a port wine birthmark is mostly treated to reduce its prominence by fading the mark.
The most common line of treatment followed for a port wine stain birthmark or similar marks is laser treatment, though they might require repetitive treatments after a particular time period. This is because of the fact that this type of birthmark is considered to be caused due to the underlying nerves and hence, the discoloration is likely to appear again after some time.
By Jasmin Pannu
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