h1 arrowSturge-Weber Syndrome Center: Treatment of SWS

Treatment of port-wine birthmarks:

Child with Sturge-weber syndrome Laser treatment of port-wine birthmarks can effectively reduce the prominence of the facial port-wine birthmarks in Sturge-Weber syndrome (SWS). Most patients require repeated treatments over several months. The Pediatric Dermatology and Cutaneous Laser Clinic utilizes the new Candela flash lamp pumped, yellow, tunable dye laser. This cutting-edge technology is available for treating infants, children, and adults with vascular malformations, including port-wine birthmarks. This laser targets vascular marks exceptionally well, and the risk of scarring is negligible. A local anesthetic applied to the skin minimizes pain during the laser treatments.

Although we do not yet know the ideal age for laser treatment of port-wine birthmarks in SWS, we currently recommend that laser treatments begin soon after the first year of life. When appropriate, patients with SWS may receive referrals for other services involving skin care, including plastic and oral surgery.

Treatment of headaches:

A variety of approaches can be used in the treatment of headaches in SWS, depending on the frequency and severity of the symptoms. Options include; maintaining hydration, avoiding triggers, the use of abortive medications to treat attacks, and the use of prophylactic medications to prevent attacks. For persons with SWS, headaches frequently occur around the time of seizures or stroke-like episodes, and this association figures into the headache treatment plan.

Treatment of epilepsy:

There are many antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) currently available for the treatment of seizures in persons with SWS. Some people with SWS continue to have uncontrolled seizures despite drug treatments. For these children, surgical interventions or special diets may be considered.

Treatment of glaucoma:

Glaucoma in persons with SWS requires combined management using medical and surgical approaches. Medical approaches usually utilize eye drops to maintain healthy pressure in the affected eye(s). Common surgical techniques include goniotomy, trabeculectomy, tube-shunt, and trabeculotomy.

Treatment of rehabilitative issues:

People with SWS often present with rehabilitation issues including; impaired fine and gross motor coordination, difficulty walking, hemiparesis, visual and spatial neglect, and speech delays. Techniques employed by rehabilitation specialists include; occupational, physical, and speech therapy, adaptive equipment, orthotic devices, constraint induced therapy, botox injections, and kinesio taping. A medical rehabilitation physician can provide a comprehensive assessment of movement skills and prescribe therapies and devices to improve function.

Treatment of psychological/social/behavioral issues:

Behavioral, emotional and social issues present in SWS are treatable with either medication or therapy. Treatment decisions are highly individualized to each patientís situation. Cognitive behavioral therapy, medications, and family therapy are among the options available to SWS patients.

Treatment of endocrine issues:

The endocrine aspects of SWS have received little attention to date, but researchers at the Hunter Nelson Sturge-Weber Center are working to learn more about these complications. Potentially, involvement of important hormone-producing structures in the brain could lead to deficiencies in growth hormone, thyroid hormone, cortisol, estrogen, testosterone, or anti-diuretic hormone. These problems may be responsive to hormone replacement treatments.

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