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What is a Vascular Anomaly?

Vascular anomalies are blood vessels (artery, vein, capillary or lymphatic) that have developed abnormally. Theses lesions/tumors are not cancer and can range from uncomplicated vascular lesions to much more serious vascular tumors and malformations. Vascular anomalies are managed via a multidisciplinary approach and can include plastic surgery, dermatology, interventional radiology, hematology and other surgical specialties (pediatric surgery and otolaryngology).

Causes

Vascular malformations are usually present at birth but become noticeable at different ages. Significant research is currently being done to investigate why they occur, including genetic causes. The belief is that these malformations occur during development of the blood vessels; however, the exact cause is unknown.

Testing and Diagnosis

The first step for our patients is to undergo a comprehensive evaluation by a member of the vascular malformation team. Some vascular malformations can be diagnosed by physical exam alone. Others may require blood tests, biopsy or imaging such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasonography.

Treatment

Treatment will depend on the type of vascular malformation. This can include a medication, surgery, laser therapy, interventional radiology, or just observation of the vascular malformation as your child grows.