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Port Wine Stains (Skin Camouflage) – Information for GPs

Definition

A port wine stain is a flat red or purple patch with well-defined borders caused by malformed dilated blood vessels in the skin.

It is present at birth and 0.3% of new-borns are affected.

The face is most commonly involved but it can occur anywhere on the body.

Exclude Red Flag Symptoms

  • Sturge-Weber syndrome – port wine stain affecting skin in distribution of trigeminal nerve associated with underlying epilepsy, glaucoma or other eye complications.
  • Klippel-Trenaunay – rare syndrome with port wine stain on the limb with increased limb size and varicose veins. Associated with other developmental abnormalities and an increased incidence of DVT and PE.

Management

  • Facial lesions should be referred early to Dermatology
    • To consider the possibility of an associated syndrome
    • To discuss laser treatment which can successfully treat or improve the appearance.
  • Lesions on or near the eyelid should be referred to Ophthalmology, as these are associated with glaucoma.
  • Cosmetic camouflage is very good at hiding lesions and is available from Changing Faces.
  • Further information is also available at The British Association of Skin Camouflage at http://www.skin-camouflage.net

Information to include in referral letter

  • Size and site of lesion
  • Photograph is required. (Preferably a close up of the complete lesion and one from a distance providing an anatomical overview of the affected area)
  • Any associated symptoms e.g. epilepsy
  • Relevant past medical/surgical history
  • Current regular medication
  • BMI/Smoking status

Investigations prior to referral

  • No investigations needed prior to referral

Patient information leaflets

References

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