Vascular Malformations

  • What are vascular malformations

    Vascular malformations are a type of birthmark or a growth, often present at birth and composed of blood vessels that can cause functional or cosmetic problems. Congenital or acquired blood vessel abnormalities can involve arteries, veins, capillaries, lymphatics, and combinations of these blood vessels. While many of these blood vessel malformations are apparent at birth, others do not show up until later, during the childhood and teenage years.

    There are several different types of vascular malformations and they are named according to which type of blood vessel is predominantly affected. The most common blood vessel abnormalities that impact children in the first year of life are hemangiomas, the majority of which will improve throughout childhood.

    Hemangiomas are among the most common vascular birthmarks in infants and children. They are the most common benign (non-cancerous) tumor of the skin. Hemangiomas may be present at birth (faint red mark) or appear in the first months after birth.

    Blood vessel abnormalities may accompany a variety of genetic or inherited syndromes. Patients that present with vascular malformations will receive multidisciplinary care to ensure coordinated treatment for all of their symptoms. A wide variety of combinations and syndromes commonly associated with vascular malformations are treated through the Divisions of Plastic Surgery and Interventional Radiology, with additional collaboration from Orthopedic Surgery, Hematology and Otolaryngology when indicated. These include:

    • Venolymphatic malformations, including angiokeratomas
    • Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome (capillary, venolymphatic malformations)
    • Parkes Weber syndrome (capillary, arteriovenous)
    • CLOVES (congenital lipomatous overgrowth, vascular malformations, epidermal nevus, spinal abnormalities)
    • Proteus syndrome
    • Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome)
    • Blue rubber bleb nevus syndrome (BRBNS)

Reviewed by David W. Low, MD on March 01, 2013