Largest comparative analysis: Novel large spot size 595 nm, high-energy, pulsed dye laser reduces number of treatments for improvement of adult and pediatric port wine birthmarks

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Lasers in surgery and medicine




port wine birthmark; pulsed dye laser


OBJECTIVE: Port wine birthmarks (PWBs) are vascular malformations affecting 0.3%-0.5% of newborns with the tendency to persist into adulthood without adequate treatment of the heterogenous ectatic vessels. This study compares treatment outcomes and parameters of the prior generation pulsed dye laser (PPDL) and the larger spot novel generation pulsed dye laser (NPDL) to establish whether a larger spot size laser provides greater clearance with fewer treatments. METHODS: One hundred and sixty patients were treated with either the PPDL (80 patients) and NPDL (80 patients) with retrospective review of age, body site, laser treatment parameters, number of treatments, and improvement following laser therapy. RESULTS: Patients treated with PPDL were older on average than patients treated with NPDL (mean 24.8 ± 19.7 vs. mean 17.1± 19.3 years, p < 0.05). The majority of lesions treated with PPDL were located on the face and neck, whereas truncal and extremity sites were more frequently treated with the NPDL. Use of NPDL was associated with a mean maximum spot size of 13.1 mm and mean maximum fluence of 7.3 J/cm with pulse durations of 0.45-3 ms, whereas use of the PPDL was associated with a mean spot size of 10.8 mm and mean maximum fluence of 8.8 J/cm with pulse durations of 0.45-6 ms. Fifty percent improvement was seen with 8.8 PPDL treatments compared to 4.3 NPDL treatments (p ≤ 0.01) with no significant difference in overall mean improvement between both devices at the chosen parameters. Multiple regression analysis showed that device type, not age or lesion location, was the only statistically significant independent variable to affect the endpoint of at least 50% improvement of the lesion. CONCLUSIONS: Use of the larger spot NPDL is associated with achieving 50% improvement with fewer treatments.