Redarkening of port-wine stains 10 years after pulsed-dye-laser treatment

Menno Huikeshoven, Petra H. L. Koster, Corianne A. J. M. de Borgie, Johan F. Beek, Martin J. C. van Gemert, Chantal M. A. M. van der Horst

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BACKGROUND: Although pulsed-dye-laser therapy is currently the gold standard for the treatment of port-wine stains, few objective data are available on its long-term efficacy. Using objective color measurements, we performed a 10-year follow-up of a previously conducted prospective clinical study of the treatment of port-wine stains with a pulsed-dye laser. METHODS: We invited the patients to undergo repeated color measurements performed by the same procedures as in the previous study. The results at long-term follow-up were compared with color measurements obtained before treatment and after completion of an average of five laser treatments of the complete port-wine stain. A questionnaire was used to investigate patients' satisfaction with the treatment and their perception of long-term changes in the stain. RESULTS: Of the 89 patients from whom color measurements were obtained in the previous study, 51 were included in this study. The patients had received a median of seven additional treatment sessions since the last color measurement, which had been made after an average of five treatments. The median length of follow-up was 9.5 years. On average, the stain when measured at follow-up was significantly darker than it was when measured after the last of the initial five laser treatments (P=0.001), but it was still significantly lighter than it was when measured before treatment (P <0.001). Fifty-nine percent of patients were satisfied with the overall treatment result. Six percent of patients reported that the stain had become lighter since their last treatment, 59% that it was unchanged, and 35% that it had become darker. CONCLUSIONS: Using objective color measurements, we observed significant redarkening of port-wine stains at long-term follow-up after pulsed-dye-laser therapy. Patients should be informed about the possibility of redarkening before beginning treatment
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1235-1240
JournalNew England journal of medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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