Venous-lake angiomas are dark blue papules caused by dilatation of veins. They present in sun-exposed areas of the body, particularly the ears of elderly patients or on the lips. The average age at presentation is 65 years. They are probably more common in men than in women and are of little clinical significance, except that they can be confused with melanomas and pigmented basal cell carcinomas
Diagnosis of a Venous lake
The lesion can be examined with a dermatoscope (an instrument which assists in close examination of the skin). Sometimes Venous-lake angioma may be confused with a malignant melanoma, if both are dark in colour and of recent origin. They can be differentiated by excision biopsy.
Venous-lake angiomas are usually asymptomatic. The helix of the ears, face, and hands are other commonly affected areas. Once formed, a Venous lake persists throughout life. Except for occasional associated bleeding and cosmetic problems, the lesion’s course is uncomplicated
Treatment of Venous lake
Treatment may be requested for cosmetic reasons. The most common method to eliminate Venous-lake angioma include cryosurgery with liquid nitrogen, surgical excision, laser photocoagulation, laser vaporization, and infrared coagulation and sclerosing agents. Traditional techniques such as surgical excision is effective but leaves a scar.
Among this treatments, Laser therapy has become the mainstay of therapy. Published research demostrated that long-pulse neodymium YAG and pulse dye lasers are very effective, with a clearance rate of 94% after a single treatment. In this study no scarring or other complications were reported.
How does a laser treatment work?
The portability and low cost of the laser photocoagulation technique proves to be the safest and effective way to treat Venous-lake angioma. The technique is very simple. A laser beam is directed to the affected area; this beam is poorly absorbed by water but selectively absorbed by hemoglobin. Because of its poor absorption by water, the high-intensity laser penetrates into the tissue down to a depth of 4 to 5 mm. As it passes through the tissue, the laser beam generates heat when absorbed by haemoglobin and thus coagulates tissue in a process characterized as photocoagulation.
Immediately after laser treatment, all patients develop slight swelling of the treated area that could last 1 to 2 days. Postoperative pain is minimal in most patients.