Venous malformations specifically impact blood vessels, resulting in abnormal blood flow. The normal function of a blood vessel involves muscle cells which ensure that the vessel remains in shape, allowing it to enlarge when needed in order to control blood pressure. This function is not present in venous malformations, so blood flow is not being correctly regulated. Clots are not uncommon in venous malformation and can eventually lead to damage occurring in the vessel wall.
You can identify these vascular malformations as they appear like lumps under the skin that are blue in color. Although venous malformations are congenital, they may not be detected until later in childhood. An increase in blood flow will cause venous malformations to become more apparent, which is why most parents are not aware of a problem until they witness the lumps when the child is engaged in activities which result in increased blood flow.
The size of venous malformations is typically proportionate to the child’s growth. However, they are also more prominent in children when they gain weight or the malformation suffers some sort of trauma. Common examples of traumatic events include the onset of puberty, hormonal changes caused by contraceptive medications or during pregnancy.
Appearance or behavior alone is not enough to provide a diagnosis. The Vascular Birthmark Center will use specialist tools such as imaging equipment to confirm your child’s diagnosis before recommending any treatment options. An ultrasound scan is also useful in examining blood flow and identifying the presence of any clotting. In cases where there are major concerns for the general health of the child, an MRI may be required to determine the location and severity of venous malformations.
Venous Malformation Treatment
Effective venous malformation treatment requires a cooperative effort from a team of qualified specialists. At the Vascular Birthmark Center, the team is led by Dr. Greg Levitin, with each member bringing unique skills and insight to the table. In many cases, we may simply recommend an evaluation plan for your child, whereby he or she attends our offices regularly to monitor the venous malformations.
Medical treatment is an option to prevent complications arising from blood clots or a controlled dose of heparin is used to dissolve any clots that have already formed. Regular blood testing is part of any treatment plan in order to closely manage medications. Sclerotherapy as a treatment option is carried out by a radiologist, with the aim of shrinking blood vessels using a specifically designed substance. This procedure is performed under anesthesia to ensure your child’s safety and comfort.
If your child is suffering from smaller venous malformations that are on or close to the surface, targeted laser therapy is recommended for long lasting relief. The Vascular Birthmark Center also offers endovenous laser treatment to address venous malformations that are harder to reach. The normal risks of facial nerve damage associated with treatment are also reduced to less than 1% with Dr. Greg Levitin.
To explore these treatment options and more, reach out to the Vascular Birthmark Center today for a more comprehensive evaluation.