Port-wine Stain

Port-wine stains (nevus flammeus) commonly called PWS, are malformations of the capillaries (tiny blood vessels that connect the veins to the arteries) located in the upper levels of the skin.


Jennifer J. Janiga, MD, FAAD -- Port-wine Stain

Port-wine Stain


What is a port-wine stain?

A port-wine stain (nevus flammeus) commonly called PWS, is considered a birthmark and is a malformation of the capillaries (tiny blood vessels that connect the veins to the arteries) located in the upper levels of the skin. These irregularly shaped patches range in color from light pink to red to dark red-violet and may darken with age. Port-wine stains are usually located on the face, neck and scalp, but can appear anywhere on the body. Port-wine stains appear on about 0.5% of newborns.

What is the cause of port wine stains?

The port-wine lesions are congenital, but the cause is unknown.

What are the signs and symptoms of port wine stains?

Port-wine stains are present at birth and vary in size and shape. They first appear pale pink in color and darken with time. The texture can change gradually from smooth to thick and pebbled.

How is a port wine stain diagnosed?

Port-wine stains are diagnosed primarily by their appearance.

What treatment is available to treat port wine stains?

The Pulse Dye Laser is a safe and effective port-wine stain treatment. Treatment success depends on the age at which it is begun and the location of the lesion, with older port-wine stains being more resistant to improved appearance after laser treatment. With multiple laser treatments, most port-wine stains can be significantly lightened. Topical, local, or general anesthesia can be administered before the procedure to minimize discomfort.

The best laser treatment results are generally seen for port-wine stains appearing on the face as opposed to those that appear on the arms, legs, or middle of the body.

Are there any complications associated with Port-wine Stains?

Although port-wine stains are considered more of a cosmetic concern, all birthmarks should be reviewed and evaluated by Dr. Jennifer Janiga during a routine examination.

For more information, or to set up a consultation with Dr. Janiga for your Port-wine Stain evaluation in our Reno/Tahoe dermatology office, please send us an email or call 775-398-4600.

Appointment length varies and depends on severity of condition or other contributing factors, but is usually not more than 15-30 minutes.


Jennifer J. Janiga, MD, FAAD

Dr. Janiga enjoys taking care of both adults and children. Her extensive training and years of experience in medical dermatology, lasers, and cosmetic procedures allows her to treat her patients with the comprehensive attention they deserve.

Dr. Janiga listens attentively to what patients have to say, and works with them in planning the right course of action on an individual basis. Honest talk, humility and a fresh perspective paired with years of experience and education all contribute to the effectiveness of her straightforward care.