Interventional radiology is an integral part of a multidisciplinary team specializing in the treatment of vascular malformations (vascular birthmarks) in children and infants that includes plastic surgeons, dermatologists and pediatric surgeons.
We provide the most up-to-date methods in treatment of childhood vascular malformations. Our team of pediatric doctors, technicians, nurses and child life specialists are experts in addressing the special needs of children, focusing on pain control and alleviating anxiety. Our procedures are performed with sedation to assure patient comfort.
Every vascular malformation is unique; therefore, an initial consultation and examination with an interventional radiologist is performed prior to treatment.
What are Vascular Malformations?
Vascular malformations are congenital lesions, resulting from abnormal development of arteries, veins or lymphatic system vessels. Present at birth, they enlarge and grow as the child grows. The lesions can be painful or swell and may cause deformity of the face, head, neck, body or limbs. Blue or purple skin discoloration may be seen over the lesions. The fragile network of vessels may become infected or bleed which can cause a rapid increase in the size of the lesion.
How are Vascular Malformations Diagnosed?
Ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) play an important role in diagnosis and evaluation of vascular malformations. Ultrasound is used for the initial evaluation and during treatment. MRI evaluates large and deep lesions that can involve critical structures such as the airway, brain or eyes.
How are Vascular Malformations Treated?
Vascular malformations may be treated by sclerotherapy which is performed by interventional radiologists. Using ultrasound and x-ray guidance, the malformation is injected with a sclerosant (an irritating medication) that causes inflammation within the lesion and over time causes the lesions to shrink in size.
What to Expect on the Day of a Sclerotherapy Procedure:
- An ultrasound will be performed prior to the procedure.
- The procedure will take approximately 1 hour, but can be longer for complicated cases.
- Most children are able to go home the same day, but some may be kept in the hospital overnight for observation.
- Usually there is only minimal post procedure pain, controlled with Tylenol® if needed.