Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Vascular Anomalies
Vascular malformations are caused by abnormal blood vessels that can cause birthmarks, masses on the skin, discolored skin and, in certain situations, disfigurement. Most vascular malformations are present at birth or develop in childhood.
Yes, most types of vascular malformations can be treated using a variety of protocols - including interventional radiology (IR). Surgery and laser procedures may also be needed.
AVMs are caused by an abnormal intertwining of arteries and veins without passing through a capillary system. An AVM may cause a discolored, throbbing, warm mass on the skin.
Lymphatic malformations are cyst-like growths that can be seen in the superficial skin as small purple to red blister like bumps, or deeper firm swellings of the skin. LMs may cause disfigurement and can be challenging to treat; however, interventional radiology (IR) procedures and surgery are often successful in reducing swelling.
Port-wine stains are blotchy birthmarks that range in color from pink to purple, made up of capillaries in the skin (capillary malformations) that can be improved with laser treatments.
Venous malformations are growths made up of abnormal tangles of veins causing blue-colored bulging masses on the skin and are often present at birth. VMs can be challenging to treat.
Interventional radiology is subspecialty of radiology where minimally invasive procedures along with imaging is used to perform procedures inside the body, including in newborns. For children with vascular malformations, IR may be used to inject medications to minimize swelling.
Hemangiomas are the most common growths seen during infancy. Most hemangiomas will start as a “precursor” mark, usually a flat, red patch or blood vessels on the skin, and then grow rapidly between six to nine months of life. After, hemangiomas slowly improve over time, usually over many years. Most hemangiomas do not require treatment; however, those present on or around the eyes, causing skin breakdown or “ulceration”, and located on the face or around a child’s airway, require urgent treatment.