Cafe Au Lait Spots Laser Treatment

The best way to treat Cafe au lait spot is with lasers, which are attracted to the blood present in the affected area. To lighten the stain, multiple laser treatments are required.

CAFE AU LAIT SPOTS LASER TREATMENT

Port-wine stains (PWSs) are common red birthmarks. Patients normally seek treatment because flat birthmarks develop raised areas over time, or because they seek treatment after hearing about how well the newest generation of lasers work at removing port-wine stain birthmarks.

Pigmented Birthmark - Cafe au lait spot

A port-wine stain is a skin birthmark that is pink or purple. It’s also known as nevus flammeus. 

In most cases, port-wine stains are not harmful. However, they can occasionally be a sign of an underlying health condition.

Do port-wine stains cause any symptoms?

Apart from their appearance, port-wine stains rarely cause any symptoms. They are usually red or pink at first. They can darken to a purple or brown color over time.

Port-wine stains also have the following characteristics:

  • Size: They can be as small as a few millimeters or as large as several centimeters. 
  • Location: Port-wine stains are most commonly found on one side of the face, head, and neck, but they can also appear on the abdomen, legs, or arms. 
  • Texture: Port-wine stains are typically flat and smooth at first. However, they may become thicker or slightly bumpy over time. 
  • Bleeding: When scratched or injured, the skin of a port-wine stain may be more prone to bleeding.

Can port-wine stains cause any complications?

The majority of port-wine stains are completely harmless. However, if they are located near the eyes, they can sometimes lead to the development of glaucoma, an eye condition.

Glaucoma is characterized by high intraocular pressure, which can result in vision loss if not treated. Glaucoma affects up to 10% of people who have a port-wine stain near their eye.

If you or your child has a port-wine stain near the eyes, check if:

  • one eye has a larger pupil than the other
  • one eyelid is open wider than the other eye
  • one eye appears more prominent

What causes port-wine stains?

The cause of port-wine stains is a problem with capillaries, which are very small blood vessels.

Capillaries are typically narrow. However, in port-wine stains, they are overly dilated, allowing blood to collect. This collection of blood is responsible for the distinctive color of port-wine stains. As capillaries expand, port-wine stains may become larger or change shape.

Sturge-Weber syndrome is characterized by port-wine stains on the scalp, forehead, or around the eyes.

This condition occurs when there are abnormal blood vessels in the skin and on the surface of the brain, affecting blood flow to the brain.

Port-wine stains on the arms or legs may also be a sign of Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome. They usually appear on only one limb in this case.

Changes in the blood vessels of the affected leg or arm are caused by this rare genetic condition. These changes can cause the limb’s bone or muscle to grow longer or wider than usual.

Cafe au lait spots laser treatment Toronto

How are port-wine stains treated? Cafe au lait spots laser treatment

Even with treatment, Port-wine stains are not entirely removed, but people chose to have them lightened or faded for cosmetic reasons. This is usually accomplished through laser treatments that employ a pulsed dye laser.

Other laser and light treatments are as follows:

  • Nd: YAG
  • diode
  • alexandrite
  • intense pulsed light
  • bromide copper vapor

 

Heat is used in laser and light treatments to damage abnormal blood vessels. This causes the blood vessel to close and disintegrate after a few weeks, assisting in the shrinking, fading, or removal of port-wine stains.

Most people will require multiple treatments, though the exact number depends on a variety of factors such as skin color, size, and location.

It’s important to remember that laser treatments may not completely remove a port-wine stain. They may, however, be able to lighten the color or make it less noticeable. Laser treatments may also leave some scarring or discoloration behind. Following laser treatment, your skin will be extra sensitive, so be sure to wear sunscreen and protect the affected skin following the procedure.

These are all signs of glaucoma, which can be treated with prescription eye drops or surgery.

Skin thickening and “cobble stoning” can also occur because of a capillary dysfunction. This can be avoided if port-wine stains are treated as soon as possible.

Q & A for port-wine stains

Laser surgery is the best treatment that works on port-wine stains with less risk of damaging or scarring the skin. Sometimes, laser treatments may make the pigmentation darker than normal, but this usually is just temporary.

The laser’s energy, the photon, is absorbed in the vessels and is converted to heat, which in turn destroys the vessels. The GentleMax Pro™, using the 755 nm Alexandrite laser light is very useful in treating resistant port-wine stains.

 

The recommended settings for this particular treatment are the 8 mm spot, 3 to 5 ms pulse duration, 30 to 45 J/cm2 , DCD 50/30. Multiple treatments will be needed spaced approximately one month apart. How many laser treatments will it take to remove a port-wine stain? Port-wine stains vary in size and location. Port-wine stains on the neck can be removed in a few treatments while those on the lower leg or foot may require more treatments for removal. Most patients require eight to ten treatments for optimal results. Port-wine stains are generally treated at 6-week intervals.

Port-wine stains look quite bruised post treatment. This bruising usually last for 2 to 3 weeks. It’s very important to wait until this pigment resolves before getting additional treatments, as treating over this pigment can result in injury to the skin. Blistering or crusting can occur in some areas of a port-wine stain following treatment, although bruising is more common.

Patients can apply Vaseline® petrolatum to the treated areas a few times a day, for 1-2 weeks after treatment, or until the skin has healed completely.

Laser treatment of port-wine stains is still the best and most effective method currently available, however port-wine stains can still reappear and re-darken after a number of years following laser treatment, so follow-up treatments may be necessary. If a port-wine stain was previously treated, newer lasers can still remove port-wine stains that stopped responding to earlier-generation lasers.

Response to Laser Treatment of Café au Lait Macules Based on Morphologic Features CLICK HERE

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