Capillary Malformation in Children

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Contact the Vascular Anomalies Center

A capillary malformation—sometimes called a "port-wine stain"—is a kind of birthmark that looks like a flat, red-pink stain on your child's skin.

  • Capillary malformations are vascular malformations caused by dilated capillaries (small blood vessels) in the skin that enlarge and darken as a child grows older.
  • They are uncommon but not rare; roughly 1 in every 330 babies is born with a capillary malformation.
  • Capillary malformations usually show up on the face or neck, but can appear anywhere in a child’s body.
  • They are largely cosmetic and often don't require any treatment. Rarely, though, they can be a sign of an underlying abnormality.
  • Capillary malformations do not fade or go away on their own. However, if  a capillary malformation is in a prominent location, specialists can lighten it with pulsed dye laser therapy.

How Children’s Hospital Boston approaches capillary malformations

The Vascular Anomalies Center at Boston Children's takes an interdisciplinary approach to care with every child they see, whether the child is initially reviewed at our conference or seen in clinic.  While capillary malformations are typically only a cosmetic issue, on your first visit to clinic several VAC specialists will often review your child's case at the same time.  Our experience in treating many patients with capillary malformations gives us the depth of knowledge about what symptoms to look for to ensure you have an accurate diagnosis. 

Once a diagnosis and the extent of the disease is confirmed, the team works with you to develop and carry out a coordinated care plan that matches your child's specific needs.  The team brings the expertise of other Boston Children's departments and services as necessary to provide your child with the best care in a child-friendly atmosphere.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944

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