Medical Specialties

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Vascular Anomalies

What are vascular malformations?

Are there treatments for vascular malformations?

What are lymphatic malformations?

What are arteriovenous malformations?

What are port-wine stains?

What are venous malformations?

What is Interventional Radiology (IR)?

What are hemangiomas?

What are vascular malformations?

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.

Are there treatments for vascular malformations?

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.

What are arteriovenous malformations?

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.

What are lymphatic malformations?

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.

What are port-wine stains?

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.

What are venous malformations?

Venous malformations are growths mad eup of abnormal tangles of veins that cause blue-colored bulging masses on the skin and are often present at birth. VMs can be challenging to treat.

What is Interventional Radiology (IR)?

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.

What are hemangiomas?

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 that, hemangiomas slowly improve over time, usually over many years. Most hemangiomas do not require treatment. However, those present on or around the eyes, those that cause skin breakdown or “ulceration”, and those located on the face or around a child’s airway, require urgent treatment.

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