Asymmetrical nevus flammeus (overview) Q82.5

Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

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Last updated on: 13.10.2021

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Asymmetrical lateral naevus flammeus; Asymmetrical naevus flammeus; Asymmetrical nevus flammeus; Birthmark; capillary malformation; Capillary malformation; CM; haemangioma planum; hemangioma simplex; hyperaemic nevus; KM; lateral flammeus nevus; nevus flammeus; Nevus flammeus; Nevus flammeus asymmetrical lateral; nevus vinosus; OMIM 16300; port-wine stain; Port wine stain; Port-wine stain; PWS

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Non-recoverable vascular, primarily capillary malformation (CM), which is visible at birth or manifests itself at a later age, but can also affect venous and/or arterial vascular systems of the skin and/or other organs. S. and vascular malformations.

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From a clinical point of view, the following entities can be distinguished:

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Capillary malformations (KM) occur in about 0.3% of the population (exact epidemiological data are not available). There is no gender preference.

Clinical features
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Mostly bizarrely configured, in the first years of life light red, later saturated red to blue-red (red wine-coloured) spot (completely compressible by glass spatula printing). The size ranges from 0.5 cm in diameter to large-scale spots extending over wide areas of the body. Bizarre formations can occur. An arrangement in the Blaschko lines does not exist.

A nevus flammeus does not show spontaneous surface growth, but only enlarges according to the body growth. After decades of existence, growth phenomena appear in the vascular malformations. Bumpy, blue-red plaques, papules or nodules form. There is a tendency to bleed from trivial injuries.

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Pale nevi (infancy and childhood): The best results are achieved with the pulsed dye laser (585 nm or 577 nm, see also laser). Disadvantage: Financially expensive, only available in specialized institutions. Lightening effects in approx. 70% of the nevi. Scarring occurs only very rarely with proper application. Nevi on the head, trunk or neck respond best. As a rule, 5-7 sessions at intervals of 6-8 weeks with energy densities of 5.5-8 J/cm2 are sufficient, depending on the best lightening after previous test lasing (1 cm2). Preparation: Especially in children, the prior administration of local anaesthesia (e.g. EMLA cream) is often used because of the painfulness. If necessary, systemic analgesics or general anaesthesia may also be used. However, local anaesthesia (injection or cream) should be avoided if possible, as the resulting vasoconstriction reduces the availability of the target chromophore (haemoglobin) for the laser and the effect can therefore be considered to be lower. However, 10-year results show that almost 60% of laser-treated nevi flammei darken again.

Dark nevi (adult age): Dark nevi often respond relatively well to the argon laser. A prolonged treatment is usually necessary. The response can often only be assessed after several sessions. The risk of scarring and hypopigmentation can be greatly reduced by careful dosing. In case of insufficient response, pulsed dye lasers may be considered. Here, too, 5 or more sessions are usually necessary. Nodular areas show only little response, in this case Photoderm VL (high-energy flash lamp with a broad wavelength spectrum) may be able to achieve more.

Before starting a laser treatment: Inform the patient about discoloration persisting for 1-2 weeks, avoid direct sun exposure and use light protection (e.g. Anthelios) for the entire duration of the laser treatment. Alternative: Cosmetic covering, e.g. with Dermacolor. Use cryosurgery only if sufficient experience with the therapy is available.

Clarification and, if necessary, treatment of accompanying anomalies, see below respective syndrome.

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No late regression.

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Remember! A facial nevus flammeus is a compelling indication for ophthalmological clarification (glaucoma, retinal damage). The dogma that facial nevi flammeus reflect the trigeminal dermatomes V1,V2 and V3 has obviously been rightly doubted (Happle R 2014). The patients treated with laser should be informed about a possible darkening of the areas.

The frequent nuchal-frontal capillary malformations of the neck or the upper eyelids (stork bite, angel kiss), formerly called "Naevus flammeus medialis", are completely harmless. The capillary nuchal nevus persists in most cases for life.

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  1. Happle R (2014) How common are genetic mosaics of the skin? dermatologist 65: 536-541
  2. Huikeshoven M et al (2007) Redarkening of port-wine stains 10 years after puls-dye-laser-treatment. N Engl J Med 156: 1235-1240
  3. Katugampola GA et al (1996) The clinical spectrum of naevus anaemicus and its association with port
    winestains: report of 15 cases and a review of the literature. Br J Dermatol 134:292-295.
  4. Larralde M et al (2014) Capillary malformation-arteriovenous malformation: a clinical review of 45 patients. Int J Dermatol 53:458-461.


Please ask your physician for a reliable diagnosis. This website is only meant as a reference.


Last updated on: 13.10.2021