Port wine stain is a congenital vascular lesion that occurs in approximately 3 out of 1,000 people. It is also known as nevus flammeus. They are an irregularly shaped reddish to purplish discoloration of the skin. The lesions are present at birth, grow proportionally with the individual and usually persist throughout life. They may be part of a more serious syndrome such as Sturge-Weber or Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber.
Treatment with a laser may produce marked improvement of the lesion, although complete disappearance is rare. Port wine stains on the face tend to respond better than those on the trunk or limbs. Multiple treatments may be required and, as with any laser treatment, the risk of scarring is present, although uncommon.