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Port Wine Stains / Vascular Birthmarks / Hemangiomas

Vascular birthmarks called port wine stains affect about 3 in 1,000 children and are typically present at birth.

Port Wine Stains (PWS)

Port wine stains result when small blood vessels in the skin keep expanding, causing discolorations in skin that most often occur on the face, neck, arms, or legs. Unfortunately, if left untreated, these vascular lesions do not go away on their own and may darken and thicken over a lifetime. PWS birthmarks may even develop small vascular “bumps” within them, which may bleed.

Our CDLC physicians are highly experienced in providing pulsed dye laser treatment for port wine stain birthmarks in patients of all ages. At your initial visit, your CDLC physician will explain our treatment approach.

Most patients are treated right in the CDLC, over a period of just a few minutes. Options for treatment under anesthesia exist for our younger patients. We work with the Pediatric Anesthesia team at the Mott Children’s Hospital to provide pain free treatments in the safest environment possible.

Although treatment for port wine stains is encouraged as early as possible, it is never too late to minimize a port wine stain birthmark. Patients whose prior treatment was unsuccessful (old style lasers and other therapies) may enjoy substantial benefits from current laser treatments.


Hemangiomas are vascular growths in skin that often grow quickly during infants' first 6 months or so. Because small, noninvasive hemangiomas will shrink (involute) on their own, treatment is usually not necessary. However, hemangiomas that cause bleeding problems (ulcerated hemangioma), interfere with eating, breathing, vision, or otherwise impair a child’s development will require specialized treatment.

Dr. Jeffrey Orringer provides laser treatment for ulcerated hemangiomas in infants and children, with medical therapies offered by pediatric dermatologist, Dr. Jennifer Reeve in the UMHS pediatric dermatology program.