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Summary

Port-wine stain (PWS) birthmarks are one class of benign congenital vascular malformation. Laser therapy is the most successful treatment modality of PWS. Unfortunately, this approach has limited efficacy, with only 10% of patients experiencing complete blanching of the PWS. To address this problem, several research groups have developed technologies and methods designed to study treatment outcome and improve treatment efficacy. This article reviews seven optical imaging techniques currently in use or under development to assess treatment efficacy, focusing on: reflectance spectrophotometers/tristimulus colorimeters; laser Doppler flowmetry and laser Doppler imaging; cross-polarized diffuse reflectance colour imaging system; reflectance confocal microscopy; optical coherence tomography; spatial frequency domain imaging; and laser speckle imaging.