Recent concerns about the repetitive use of general anesthesia in children younger than 3 have placed greater importance on the controversy surrounding the timing of port-wine stain laser treatment, but a new study shows that such treatment does not necessarily require anesthesia.

In a retrospective analysis of 197 infants with port-wine stains who began laser treatment during infancy, 34 percent of the patients achieved 100 percent clearance and 37.6 percent showed 76 percent to 99 percent improvement. On average, patients appeared to achieve excellent clearance, and none of the patients experienced scarring or permanent pigmentary change. Moreover, the presence of a V1 lesion was associated with a statistically significant higher clearance rate, the study showed. The treatments were performed using the Vbeam Perfecta from Candela without topical or general anesthesia.

The findings appear in JAMA Dermatology.

“Early intervention allows for treatment without general anesthesia, maximizing the chance to achieve clearance before school age and thereby minimizing the negative outcome of PWSs for both the patient and the family,” conclude the study authors who were led by Roy Geronemus, MD of Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York.  “Additional studies, particularly evaluating long-term outcomes, on the safety and effectiveness of treating port wine stains during infancy would be beneficial and further guide clinicians.”