Venous Malformation Therapy | Vascular Malformation Treatments
Our circulation experts are board-certified vascular surgeons with experience in the latest treatments for venous malformations. Our experts will be able to provide you the most modern minimally-invasive options for treatment of your venous malformation.
Venous malformations (VMs) are the most common type of vascular malformation and consist of malformed veins that do not work properly. They are thought to be caused by errors in the formation and development of veins during fetal development. A deficiency of smooth muscle cells in the vein walls is known to be an important factor. The condition can also be inherited through a defective gene. The abnormality causes the veins to become deformed, appearing as bulging enlarged veins that are tortuous and serpentine in appearance. They often appear to be protruding under the skin, having a mass-like appearance. When feeling then, they often feel squishy and easily compress. They tend to slowly enlarge over time in most individual.
Venous malformations can begin to become apparent an any point in your lifetime, although they tend to first become apparent at a young age in most individuals. The veins tend to be enlarged with thin walls, irregular shape, and broken valves within the vein walls. The defect of the veins causes the blood circulation to be poor in this area, with the blood stagnating and not circulating properly. Abnormal pressure build-up tends to happen inside the defective veins and the veins adjacent to the defect.
Complications Resulting from Venous Malformations
Venous malformations can be symptomatic and lead to complications or be completely asymptomatic. Those individuals who do not have complications will often seek medical therapy due to the abnormal appearance of the veins and their desire to get rid of the visible deformity. Other individuals with venous malformations may have chronic pain or swelling of the affected extremity or body part, prompting them to see therapy to relieve the symptoms. The pain symptoms are typically the result of the pressure build-up within the veins that puts pressure on adjacent nerves. In cases of larger venous malformations, the range of motion of a joint may be limited and repair could improve function.
Other than chronic pain and swelling, some other potential complications of venous malformations include blood clots / thrombosis, progressive deterioration of the skin with resultant pigmentation or stasis dermatitis, or thinning of the skin to the point of breakdown of the skin with bleeding.
Individuals without cosmetic concerns or without symptoms or complications may choose to live with the condition and not have it repaired or removed. In these situations, it is often possible to apply external pressure to the venous malformation with a medical compression garment (such as compression stockings, compression sleeve, compression socks, or compression glove). This external pressure may slow down potential growth of the malformation if properly applied on a consistent basis.
Evaluation of Venous Malformations
Our board-certified vascular specialists will discuss your condition with you and describe what diagnostic workup may be required prior to treatment. Evaluation often includes a physical exam and duplex ultrasound of your circulation. Sometimes specialized vascular imaging may be necessary, including a MRA or MRV (magnetic resonance venogram) which a vascular MRI, CTA or CTV (computer tomography venogram), and sometime a catheter angiogram / venogram. After adequate imaging is obtained then our physician with discuss your treatment options for your venous malformation.