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Vascular malformation: symptoms and treatment

The vascular system consists of blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, veins, and arteries. Vascular malformation in children appears as red color birthmarks on the skin. They are benign skin lesions and are most likely to occur in females than males. Vascular malformation causes discoloration, scarring, and atrophy. The abnormal development of single blood vessels or multiple blood vessels causes lesions and fluid leakage from outside the arteries and veins.

In this article, we will discuss vascular malformation, its symptoms, and its treatment.

Vascular malformations occur in early childhood, with an increase in the blood flow between arteries and veins with fluid accumulation in fragile veins and lymphatic channels that are not developed properly. Vascular malformations occur in children, and the symptoms wane as they grow into adults.


The vascular malformation can be hereditary or non-genetic. The vascular malformation symptoms are varied:

  • Lymphatic malformations– Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome includes capillary or venolymphatic malformations, where malformations occur in capillaries, lymphatics, and veins. 
  • Venous malformations– Abnormal blood vessel growth in the veins that enlarge and stretch with time. 
  • Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasis- The malformations in the small arteries resulting in the abnormality of the blood vessel. It is inherited if a gene is transmitted from a single parent to subsequent generations. 
  • Congenital lipomatous overgrowth- It causes deformities in the spine such as scoliosis and other malformations affecting the spinal cord. 

Symptoms can vary depending on the location of malformation, such as arteries, veins, and capillaries. The vascular malformation is detected using imaging tests such as ultrasound. 


The treatment is customized according to where the lesion or abnormality is located. Some of the treatments include:

Embolization:   A minimally invasive surgical procedure of injecting an embolic agent into the skin through the catheter to reach the affected area. 

Laser treatment:  Laser therapy uses a focused beam of light to the area affected. 

Sclerotherapy: A procedure of substance injection through the skin into the malformed area. This results in the formation of blood vessels forming clots stopping the blood flow to the area affected. 

The avascular malformation is more than a cosmetic problem. Though, the condition appears as rashes, blemishes, skin discoloration. Blood loss is associated with fatigue, shortness of breath, with blood clots forming lumps and lesions on the skin. The diagnosis of the condition is with MRI and CT scans. However, the relapse may occur with regular visits, frequent check-ups, and following the physician’s recommendations to manage the illness. The patient must consider the safety, risks, and benefits of the treatment before taking them. 


A collaborative approach is required with comprehensive care and medical experts from different departments such as dermatology and radiologist. The vascular malformation has underlying clinical, pathological significance. The malformations cause the formation of lumps and lesions in the skin. This leads to scarring, atrophy which is tissue wastage, and many other accompanying symptoms that the team efficiently manages.  

The vascular malformation can be treated and managed, though there is no definitive cure. The malformations need to be detected at the right time for efficient treatment and management of the disease. As the disease progresses, treatment and management of the disease become difficult. 




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