LivingWhat are "port wine" stains in babies?

What are "port wine" stains in babies?

Port-wine stains are the most common birthmark, affecting approximately three in every thousand newborns. They are usually pink at birth and darken as the child grows until they become dark red or purplish. Hence the name Port wine, due to its characteristic color.

They can be small or cover large areas of the body, most often appearing on the face, neck, or extremities. Their color intensifies when the child cries, and they also tend to grow in size as the child grows. When it appears on the back of the neck it is known as the “stork bite”.

A type of flat angioma

Port-wine stain is a special type of angioma or flat hemangioma , or nevus flameus.

They are flat and irregular spots caused by a vascular malformation that causes an excess of blood vessels under the skin . Over time, in adulthood, the surface of the spot may become rough or thickened.

These spots do not go away without treatment . But there are aesthetic treatments such as laser in case, when the boy or girl grows, the angioma has not disappeared and would like to be hidden, but it does not represent any health problem.

Can port wine stains be prevented?

There are many myths about birthmarks on the skin of babies, but it is not due to anything that the mother could have done during pregnancy. There is no way to prevent them .

They are not hereditary either, so if the mother has these spots, it does not mean that her baby will be born with them.

What is the cause?

These vascular malformations occur during embryonic development, due to a mutation of the GNAQ gene in the cells of the capillary walls, which causes the formation of more and more dilated vessels.

Although most of the time, they are sporadic and have no related cause, very rarely they are part of syndromes that more frequently cause facial port-wine stains such as Sturge-Weber syndrome, Klippel Trenaunay syndrome, Beckwith- Wiedemann, Cobb or Proteus.

Although they are nothing more than a birthmark and do not represent a health or pain problem, for some children port wine stains can be a self-esteem problem, especially if they are on the face.

As they tend to darken, if the stain is very conspicuous, the child may feel ashamed of their physical appearance, avoid socializing and tend to isolate themselves. In these children it is important to accompany them by providing support, and consult with the doctor who will assess how to proceed.

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