Capillary malformations, or “port wine stains,” classically present as flat or slightly raised, red or purple lesions. They can occur virtually anywhere on the body. These malformations are typically harmless, but can potentially ulcerate and produce bleeding or pain. More extensive malformations may be associated with certain syndromes and with internal organ involvement, such as in the brain. An interesting relationship between arm or leg overgrowth and capillary malformations is seen on occasion.
Treatment of capillary malformations may include surgery or possibly laser therapy. Each patient’s care must be individualized. A common misconception is that lasers can virtually eliminate all traces of these lesions. Not true! As a general rule, the darker the malformation, the deeper the lesions extend into the skin. The deeper the penetration into the skin, the more difficult it is for lasers to reach the base of the colored mark to remove it. The result is multiple rounds of laser therapy with little or no improvement. In addition, aggressive laser therapy can result in permanent scarring.
Dr. Panossian’s breadth of knowledge in this field allows his patients to confidently see results without enduring repetitive costly treatments. He has also dealt extensively with complications related to burns and scarring from aggressive laser use.