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Assessment of pulsed-dye laser therapy for pediatric cutaneous vascular anomalies.

IMPORTANCE: Although facial vascular malformations are often treated by facial plastic surgeons, no reliable validated assessment tool exists for surgeons to assess results.

OBJECTIVES: To use our assessment tool to analyze results from pulsed-dye laser therapy used for pediatric facial vascular malformations, and to determine interrater reliability of our assessment tool in a standard clinical environment without the use of professional photography.

DESIGN: A blinded retrospective review of pediatric patients who underwent pulsed-dye laser therapy for treatment of hemangiomas of infancy (HOIs) and port-wine stains. Three pediatric otolaryngologists and facial plastic surgeons independently rated all of the pictures using our assessment tool.

SETTING: Tertiary care pediatric hospital.

RESULTS: Pulsed-dye laser therapy was performed in 22 patients, 17 with HOIs and 5 with port-wine stains. Patients with HOIs treated only by pulsed-dye laser showed, on average, a 50% to 75% improvement in color, 1% to 24%, improvement in thickness, and 1% to 24% improvement in size of the lesion. Eight patients with HOIs underwent surgery after laser therapy, and of these, 100% saw improvement in color, thickness, and size. Port-wine stains showed a 1% to 24% improvement in color and no improvement in thickness or size. Interrater reliability for questions 1 to 6 was 0.92, 0.92, 0.93, 0.91, 0.70, and 0.10, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Currently, no standardized or validated methods exist to evaluate results from intervention of pediatric facial HOIs and port-wine stains. Our assessment tool is reliable to assess patients with HOIs and port-wine stains who undergo pulsed-dye laser therapy and surgical reconstruction.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 3.

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