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Houston Cranio Facial

Capillary Malformations

Capillary Malformation (CM) is a red, flat (macular), vascular stain that is seen at birth and does not fade with time. Some confuse naevus flammeus neonatorum which are fading flat red stains as capillary malformations. These fading capillary stains occur in 40% to 50% of infants. Also known as “salmon patch,” they are located in the forehead, eyelids, nose, or upper lip (known as “Angel Kiss”) and back of neck area (known as “Stork Bite.”)

The most commonly known capillary malformation is the port wine stain. Some CMs can signal an underlying problem such as in Sturge-Weber Syndrome where same-sided vascular anomalies can occur around the eye nerves and/or brain causing visual problems, seizures, weakness, or developmental delays. This occurs when the red CM involves the eye area or V1 trigeminal dermatome. If the CM involves the lower half of the face, then there is a lower chance of this disorder.


Typical treatment from our craniofacial and plastic surgeon involves using a laser called a pulsed-dye laser and/or a ND:YAG laser. This laser can cause an 80% lightening of color of the capillary malformation. Therapy involves multiple treatments over a prolonged period.