What is a vascular malformation?
A vascular malformation is a type of birthmark, or congenital (present at birth) growth, made up of arteries, veins, capillaries, or lymphatic vessels. There are several different types of malformations and they are named according to which type of blood vessel is predominantly affected. A vascular malformation is also known as lymphangioma, arteriovenous malformation, and vascular gigantism.
Vascular malformations are present at birth and enlarge proportionately with the growth of the child. They do not involute spontaneously and may become more apparent as the child grows.
Treatment for vascular malformations
Treatment for vascular malformations depends upon the type of the malformation. Each type of malformation is treated differently. Laser therapy is usually effective for capillary malformations or port wine stains, which tend to be flat, violet or red patches on the face. Arterial malformations are often treated by embolization (blood flow into malformation is blocked by injecting material near the lesion). Venous malformations are usually treated by direct injection of a sclerosing (clotting) medication which causes clotting of the channels. Most often, a combination of these various treatments is used for effective management of the lesion.
To request an appointment with a physician at St. Louis Children's Hospital, call 314.454.5437 or 800.678.5437 or email us. For additional resources about vascular malformations, contact our Center for Families Resource Library.