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Treating pediatric port-wine stains in aesthetics

      Abstract

      A port-wine stain (PWS) is a vascular birthmark present in 0.3% to 0.5% of newborns. If untreated, this erythematous patch will grow proportionally with the child to thicken and darken with age. PWSs have implications for the child’s quality of life for many years, with cosmetic, medical, and psychosocial disability. Controversy exists in many aspects surrounding laser treatment of these birthmarks in the pediatric population. We have reviewed the clinical features as well as the historic and current laser treatment of PWS. We have also examined the current hot topics of debate surrounding the treatment of PWS in the pediatric population. These controversies include the patient age of treatment initiation, the long-term psychologic impact, the use of general anesthesia, the application of eye shields, and alternative treatments for recalcitrant PWS. We have concluded with a discussion on the future directions of management and treatment.
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