A port-wine stain (PWS) is a mark that is usually present at birth. It is made of enlarged blood vessels. This makes it appear as a reddish-purple patch of skin.
PWS is caused by a problem with the small blood vessels in the skin. Blood vessels can normally open and close to meet the needs of the skin. In PWS, the blood vessels stay open. Blood fills the vessels causing a purple color and raised skin. It may be due to problems with the nerves that control the blood vessels.
There are no known risk factors for PWS.
Conditions associated with port-wine stains include:
The marks vary in size. They are usually on the head or neck, but may be in other locations
Appearance may change over time:
In children—they are flat, red, or light purple
In adults—they are raised and purplish in color, darkening and thickening over time
They may be prone to bleeding when scratched.
PWS near the eyes may cause other problems as well.
PWS can be diagnosed based on a physical exam. In some rare cases, a
may be done.
An eye exam may also be done if the eye may be involved.
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