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port-wine stain

n. a flat birthmark varying from pink to purple [syn: nevus flammeus]

Port-wine stain

A port-wine stain (nevus flammeus), also commonly called a firemark, is almost always a birthmark; in rare cases it can develop in early childhood. It is caused by a vascular anomaly (a capillary malformation in the skin). Port-wine stains are named for their coloration, which is similar to a Portuguese fortified red wine.

Port-wine stains ordinarily persist throughout life. The area of skin affected grows in proportion to general growth. Port-wine stains occur most often on the face but can appear anywhere on the body, particularly on the neck and upper trunk. Early stains are usually flat and pink in appearance. As the child matures, the color may deepen to a dark red or purplish color. In adulthood, thickening of the lesion or the development of small lumps may occur.

Port-wine stains may be part of a syndrome such as Sturge–Weber syndrome or Klippel–Trénaunay–Weber syndrome.

Usage examples of "port-wine stain".

Instantly to Junior's memory came the eye floating in the port-wine stain, the hard gray iris like a nail in the bloody palm of a crucified man.

She was concerned about a purple splotch on my cheek, thinking it was a port-wine stain.

A splash of rose seeped from under his shirt collar and climbed to his earlobes, vivid as a port-wine stain.

A thin waitress with a port-wine stain on her left cheek filled my cup with industrial-strength liquid caffeine, and I filled my mind with a tempest of questions.