Birth defects

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Vascular Malformation

  • Vascular Malformation

Description of Disability:

Vascular malformations are abnormal clusters of blood vessels that occur during fetal development. Vascular Malformation is a general term that includes congenital vascular anomalies of only veins, only lymph vessels, both veins and lymph vessels, or both arteries and veins. A true vascular malformation is usually present at birth, grows proportionally with the child, does not go through a rapid growth phase in infancy, and does not disappear. Vascular malformations may become apparent later in life as blood flow increases through abnormal connections between arteries and veins. Vascular malformations may also be the result of fluid or blood accumulating in poorly formed veins or lymphatic channels. Vascular malformations may cause cosmetic deformities of the head and neck and interfere with normal function in these areas. They also may occur in other areas of the body and may cause pain, swelling, and bleeding.


Treatment for vascular malformations depends on 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 and lymphatic malformations are usually treated by direct injection of a sclerosing (clotting) medication which causes clotting of the channels. There are surgical options for some lesions. The surgical approach in vascular malformations is to remove the offending part of the entire malformation, necessary for improvement in function or restoring contour. Surgery is done with careful hemostasis, with electrocautery or harmonic knife.

Post Operative Care:

Postoperative stay overnight is necessary as bleeding may occur. Large vascular malformations may require preoperative embolisation, larger incisions for exposure and blood transfusion.


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