What are they
“Vascular anomalies” or vascular malformations can be subdivided into two groups: vascular tumours, and vascular malformations. These are characterised based on the type of vessel and blood flow. The more commonly used term, Congenital Vascular Malformation (CVM), implies blood vessels which are abnormally formed before birth. Usually, birthmarks occur on the external surface of the body and are easy to manage. On the other hand, vascular malformations can develop from any blood vessel and may develop in any part of the body although a majority of them involve the extremities. These deformities represent defects or developmental problems that occur during the embryonic growth when the baby is inside the mother’s womb.
Vascular malformations appear to grow when the vessels dilate; they are not multiplying and dividing. Vascular malformations are congenital disabilities that usually remain but can be improved to the extent that they do not tamper the child’s growth and intelligence. It is important for the parents to understand that this is a lifelong condition.
VEINS – VENOUS MALFORMATION
Venous malformations are slow-flow malformations due to underdevelopment of the veins. They vary in location and size within the body and sometimes may involve a significant area within the body, such as an entire leg or arm. Some patients who suffer from venous malformations have abnormal blood clotting issues. When a venous malformation is diagnosed within a joint, the bleeding into the joint can result in damaging the affected joint.
Many treatments are available for children with venous malformations. Some children might not need any treatment as they may have no problems with the defect. Unfortunately, there isn’t any ‘quick fix’ for venous malformations.
Radiological treatments called injection sclerotherapy can be opted for, to shrink the venous malformation and to reduce the pain.
Arteries – arteriovenous malformation
Arteriovenous malformation is a fast-flow vascular malformation that occurs with an abnormal connection between arteries and veins, called a ‘nidus’. This type of deformity can be dangerous of all the vascular anomalies. Arteriovenous malformations can involve the skin and deeper tissues including muscle and bone. They may be local or extensive within an affected body part.
COMPLEX CAPILLARY DEFECTS
Complex capillary defects are a combined type of vascular malformation often associated with both soft tissue and skeletal overgrowth. These can include a capillary component (on the surface of the skin), lymphatic or arterial components. Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome or (KTS) is one type of complex combined capillary vascular malformation.
Capillary malformations affect the skin causing a red-coloured vascular skin stain, known as port wine stain. Small lymphatic spots (called lymphatic vesicles) occur on the surface of the port wine stain.
Treatment of vascular malformations may include laser therapy, sclerotherapy, selective embolisation, surgical debulking, and compression garments.