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Sturge-Weber Syndrome


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Reviewed/Revised Apr 2022 | Modified Sep 2022
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What is Sturge-Weber syndrome?

Sturge-Weber syndrome is a birth defect of small blood vessels.

  • Sturge-Weber syndrome causes a birthmark on the newborn's face

  • Most babies also have a blood vessel tumor (angioma) in the tissue covering the brain

  • Over time, children usually develop worsening eye and brain problems

  • Treatments can improve the appearance of the birthmark, and medicines can help some eye and brain problems

What causes Sturge-Weber syndrome?

Sturge-Weber syndrome is caused by an abnormal gene Genes and Chromosomes Your genes are the chemical codes that control everything about how your body works, how it's made, and what it looks like. People have over 20,000 different genes. Every cell in your body has... read more . This gene was accidentally damaged when the baby was still in the womb. The abnormal gene isn't inherited from the parents.

Abnormal blood vessels that grow on the face cause a red or purple birthmark. Abnormal blood vessels that grow around the brain can cause brain damage or a stroke Stroke A stroke is a sudden brain problem that happens when a blood vessel in your brain either gets blocked or breaks open and bleeds. As with all organs in the body, the brain needs oxygen and nutrients... read more .

What are the symptoms of Sturge-Weber syndrome?

Babies have a birthmark on their face. The birthmark is usually on one side of the forehead and upper eyelid but may appear anywhere on the face. It's sometimes called a port-wine stain because the color ranges from light pink to deep purple.

In addition to the birthmark, the disorder can cause:

How do doctors know if my child has Sturge-Weber syndrome?

Doctors suspect Sturge-Weber syndrome in children who have the typical birthmark.

How do doctors treat Sturge-Weber syndrome?

There's no cure for Sturge-Weber syndrome. Doctors treat the symptoms:

  • Medicines or surgery to control the seizures

  • Medicines or surgery for glaucoma

  • Aspirin in low doses to reduce the chance of a stroke

  • Laser treatment to lighten or remove the birthmark if desired

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Generic Name Select Brand Names
Anacin Adult Low Strength, Aspergum, Aspir-Low, Aspirtab , Aspir-Trin , Bayer Advanced Aspirin, Bayer Aspirin, Bayer Aspirin Extra Strength, Bayer Aspirin Plus, Bayer Aspirin Regimen, Bayer Children's Aspirin, Bayer Extra Strength, Bayer Extra Strength Plus, Bayer Genuine Aspirin, Bayer Low Dose Aspirin Regimen, Bayer Womens Aspirin , BeneHealth Aspirin, Bufferin, Bufferin Extra Strength, Bufferin Low Dose, DURLAZA, Easprin , Ecotrin, Ecotrin Low Strength, Genacote, Halfprin, MiniPrin, St. Joseph Adult Low Strength, St. Joseph Aspirin, VAZALORE, Zero Order Release Aspirin, ZORprin
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