The anatomic distribution of isolated and syndrome-associated port-wine stain

Anna J. Elias, Jennifer L. Hand, Megha M. Tollefson, Dawn Marie R. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/Objectives: To determine the role of sex in port-wine stain (PWS) distribution and describe the epidemiologic and anatomic differences between syndrome-associated and non-syndrome-associated PWS using modern criteria. Methods: A retrospective review of PWS patients aged 18 years and younger from 1995 to 2018 seen in the Department of Dermatology at an academic tertiary referral center. Cases were reviewed for sex, anatomic location, and presence of associated syndrome. 4,527 records were reviewed on the basis of ICD billing codes for congenital vascular malformations, with 516 meeting inclusion criteria. Results: 516 patients were included in the analysis: 234 (45.4%) men and 282 (54.6%) women. A female preponderance of Sturge-Weber syndrome (18 of 23, 78%, P =.03) and a trend toward more female-isolated PWS (149 of 269, 55%, P =.72) were found. No lateral predominance observed for isolated PWS was found: 112(41.6%) limited left-side lesions and 113(42%) limited right-side lesions (P =.41). A trend toward Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome (KTS)-associated PWS occurring more commonly isolated to the left side (76 (45.5%) vs 59 (35.12%) P =.29) was found. Nine percent of SWS patients had a PWS on the body. Five percent of KTS patients had a facial PWS. The lower limb was the most common location overall of body PWS with 33.8% of isolated PWS and 81.5% of KTS patients having a lower limb lesion. Conclusions: Female children were more likely to be diagnosed with SWS, and a trend toward more isolated PWS in women was found. No lateral predominance of isolated PWS was found, but KTS-associated PWS was more common on the left. A considerable proportion of lesions do not appear in anatomic locations traditionally considered typical in the setting of associated syndromes, which underscores the importance of conducting a complete physical examination and adhering to diagnostic criteria for those syndromes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-82
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Dermatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome
  • Sturge-Weber syndrome
  • anatomic distribution
  • gender
  • port-wine stain
  • vascular malformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Dermatology


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