Port wine birthmarks can thicken and overpower your child’s face over time. This can cause a lack of self-esteem and self-confidence along with possible depression and anxiety. As your child gets older, they may isolate themselves from others or become a target for bullying. If these birthmarks are not medically monitored and treated, other skin conditions can develop that could lead to serious health issues. Early treatment can help reduce the risks of a port wine birthmark progressing into other potentially difficult skin conditions.
Types of Skin Conditions
There are several types of skin conditions that can develop if port wine birthmarks are left untreated. Malfunctioning capillaries can thicken the skin and cause raised bumps and ridges over the surface of the birthmark. Large nodules, referred to as cobblestones, can begin to form. Skin can thicken and darken over time as elastin and collagen production begins to slow down. Soft tissue under a port wine birthmark can become enlarged, typically around the lips.
Bleeding can occur if the birthmark is scratched or injured. Small blood vessels the size of grapes can form and may bleed. This bleeding can lead to infections that may cause serious health conditions. Depending on where the port wine birthmark is located on the face, it can affect the appearance of the mouth, teeth and underlying facial bones. With early treatment, port wine birthmarks can be lightened and enlarged lesions can be surgically removed to improve the appearance of the skin.
Why Early Treatment of Port Wine Birthmarks is Best
Treating port wine birthmarks during infancy leads to better outcomes in preventing the development of other serious skin conditions. Laser treatment enables easier penetration into the port wine birthmark capillaries in younger patients. As a child gets older, the development of thicker skin can make laser treatment less effective. Infants have less melanin in the skin. Melanin can be responsible for the birthmark. As a result, infants typically enjoy better laser energy absorption to improve the skin’s appearance.
Port wine birthmarks may be associated with certain syndromes that can affect more than just the skin. For example, Sturge Weber Syndrome can cause vision loss, seizures and mental retardation. Eye restrictions can occur without affecting the brain if port wine birthmarks cause skin involvement around the eye. An accurate diagnosis from an ophthalmologist can determine if a port wine birthmark is causing these or other problems. Early treatment can prevent these complications from occurring or getting worse.
Get Early Treatment for Port Wine Birthmarks Today
If your child has a port wine birthmark, seeking early treatment is crucial to prevent the development and/or progression of other serious skin conditions. Port wine birthmarks can have a significantly negative impact on a child’s life if they are left untreated. At Vascular Birthmark Institute, we have over 30 years of experience treating port wine birthmarks and other vascular malformations.
Our team of six expert physicians provide the best treatment plans for patients of all ages from around the world. Contact us today to book an appointment to get early treatment for your child’s port wine birthmark.