An overview of clinical and experimental treatment modalities for port wine stains. Academic Article uri icon


  • Port wine stains (PWS) are the most common vascular malformation of the skin, occurring in 0.3% to 0.5% of the population. Noninvasive laser irradiation with flashlamp-pumped pulsed dye lasers (selective photothermolysis) currently comprises the gold standard treatment of PWS; however, the majority of PWS fail to clear completely after selective photothermolysis. In this review, the clinically used PWS treatment modalities (pulsed dye lasers, alexandrite lasers, neodymium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet lasers, and intense pulsed light) and techniques (combination approaches, multiple passes, and epidermal cooling) are discussed. Retrospective analysis of clinical studies published between 1990 and 2011 was performed to determine therapeutic efficacies for each clinically used modality/technique. In addition, factors that have resulted in the high degree of therapeutic recalcitrance are identified, and emerging experimental treatment strategies are addressed, including the use of photodynamic therapy, immunomodulators, angiogenesis inhibitors, hypobaric pressure, and site-specific pharmaco-laser therapy.

published proceedings

  • J Am Acad Dermatol

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Chen, J. K., Ghasri, P., Aguilar, G., van Drooge, A. M., Wolkerstorfer, A., Kelly, K. M., & Heger, M.

citation count

  • 144

complete list of authors

  • Chen, Jennifer K||Ghasri, Pedram||Aguilar, Guillermo||van Drooge, Anne Margreet||Wolkerstorfer, Albert||Kelly, Kristen M||Heger, Michal

publication date

  • January 2012