Port Wine Stains

A port-wine stain is a red or purple mark on the skin caused by the malformation and collection of blood vessels. It is usually present from birth. About 3 in 1,000 babies are born with a port-wine stain. Most occur on the face but any area of the skin can be affected. Port-wine stains affect males and females equally. They are not hereditary.

PWS Pic 1 PWS 1.

What causes a Port Wine Stain?

A port-wine stain is a localised blood vessel problem. The tiny blood vessels (capillaries) in port-wine stains remain wide (dilated). It is like a permanent localised blush. The reason why this occurs is thought to be due to a damaged or faulty nerve supply to the affected tiny blood vessels. The nerve impulses that make the blood vessels narrower are lost so they then stay relaxed all the time. Although most port wine stains are present at birth, they can occasionally develop later on. Possible causes include long-term exposure to uv light, other types of skin damage and changes in hormone levels. Port-wine stains vary in size from a few mm across to many cm. Their colour can vary from pale red to deep purple. If left untreated, port-wine stains tend to darken over the years as the blood flow through them becomes more sluggish. The overlying skin is smooth and flat at first. By middle age the overlying skin can become thickened and lumpy.


How does Ellipse treatment work?

The Ellipse Selective Waveband Technology treatment works by directing well controlled pulses of light into the upper skin. The light is absorbed by one of the body’s own natural substances – haemoglobin – contained in the red blood cells.

Haemoglobin converts the light energy into heat. This heat is transferred to the walls of the blood vessels, which are permanently damaged and removed by the body’s own defence mechanism. The method of converting light to heat and using it to destroy the target without damaging the surrounding tissue is called Selective Photothermolysis.

The visible light produced by the Ellipse SWT systems is carefully controlled to produce the correct pulse length and right amount of energy to destroy the vessel. Best results are obtained on patients who have light to medium skin


How many Ellipse treatments do I need?

The number of treatments depends on location and the size of the area to be treated. It can take up to 10 sessions to see the end result.


How long does an Ellipse treatment take?

The treatment time depends on the area to be covered and the number of distinct vessels to be treated. A single session typically lasts 15-30 minutes. All consultations last 30min.


Do I need to take special precautions before and after treatment?

We recommend the following to ensure a successful treatment and result:

-It is, important to avoid tanning (sun, solarium or self-tanning products) before and during the treatment period. Otherwise your tanned skin will absorb more light, which makes treatment less effective and less comfortable.

-It is also a good idea to avoid smoking in the 4 hours prior to treatment. Generally, no special care is necessary after treatment, but people with sensitive skin may benefit from applying a cold compress (a cold damp cloth) to the area immediately after treatment or from using an ointment prescribed by the doctor.

-After treatment, you should avoid sun exposure for 30 days, even if there is no sign of inflammation in the treated area.

-Use sun protection (minimum SPF 30) if sun exposure cannot be avoided.


Does the treatment hurt?

No anaesthetics are required, and many patients describe the treatment as being like a snap from a rubber band followed by a sensation similar to the feeling of gentle sunburn.


What is the treatment price?

Prices start from £150. We offer complimentary consultations and patch tests to our patients. Prices are always confirmed prior to your treatments.


How can I be sure Ellipse is safe and effective?

Clinical trials documenting Ellipse’s safety and effectiveness were carried out by leading doctors prior to the launch of the treatments. You are welcome to view these scientific papers on the Ellipse website at www.ellipse.com.