A capillary malformation is flat with sharp rather than rounded edges. It typically resembles a stain, hence the common name “port-wine stain” and is most commonly found around the head and neck, although malformations can develop anywhere on the body. It is now understood that capillary malformations originate in early development and are most likely the result of abnormal genetic coding. Other vascular malformations such as nevus simplex are sometimes confused with capillary malformations. However, these birthmarks are most likely to fade and do not normally require treatment.
Capillary Malformations Diagnosis
Diagnosis is usually based on appearance. Dr. Greg Levitin of the Vascular Birthmark Center can provide a full evaluation in order to avoid misdiagnosis and ensure that only suitable treatment options are offered. This exam involves a physical which includes the evaluation of asymmetry that will allow Dr. Levitin to rule out any similar vascular malformations.
There are complications that may arise from capillary malformations, which are associated with abnormal tissue growth or bones. This typically results in darker skin lesions that become progressively thicker. In some cases, they may bleed as the patient ages. Lesions in close proximity to the eyes or forehead are also cause for concern. Complications include the potential for glaucoma to develop and brain abnormalities. Similarly, capillary malformations located on the spine require a thorough evaluation to determine if tethering of the spine has occurred.
Capillary Malformations Treatment
Laser therapy is a common treatment for capillary malformations that are located around the face. Dr. Greg Levitin can use a combination of laser wavelengths to reduce thickening and discoloration. This procedure is especially beneficial for young children as they are developing a sense of self. While laser therapy can be used to treat capillary malformations in other areas of the body, the effectiveness of treatment is not guaranteed due to the fact that vessels are located deeper beneath the epidermis.
Surgery is also an option where appropriate, depending on the results of the patient’s evaluations. Dr. Greg Levitin will consult with you and may recommend a combination of treatments to achieve the best results. There are risks associated with both laser therapy and surgery to remove capillary malformations. However, even if you have previously consulted with a vascular malformation treatment center and decided that the risks outweigh the benefits, Dr. Levitin would like to hear from you.
At the Vascular Birthmark Center, we are better equipped to reduce the risk of complications arising. Dr. Greg Levitin is skilled in the use of an intraoperative nerve monitoring system which has resulted in him being able to offer facial treatments with a risk of nerve damage that is lower than 1%.
To find out more, contact the Vascular Birthmark Center today, and book your appointment with Dr. Greg Levitin.