UW Radiology

Vascular Malformations

1. Arterial, venous, and lymphatic malformations

Vascular malformations are abnormally formed arteries, veins, and/or lymphatic vessels that result in a mass or blemish on the skin or inside the body. These lesions are present at birth but may enlarge over time and cause symptoms later in life. There are many types of vascular malformations; they are named based on the vessels involved. The treatment of vascular malformations is complex and tailored to each patient based on the type, size, and location of the malformation. Additionally, vascular malformations are frequently associated with an underlying genetic condition. A treatment team composed of multiple medical specialties, including Interventional Radiology, is usually required for assessment and treatment planning. Embolization or sclerosis is a minimally invasive treatment strategy to help shrink vascular malformations or assist their later surgical removal. It is a non-surgical treatment that involves injection of an embolization or sclerosing agent directly into the vascular malformation through a small catheter or needle using real-time x-ray guidance (fluoroscopy). Embolization or sclerosing agents block and shrink the malformed vessels. This reduces the bleeding risk of vascular malformations and improves the appearance of the lesion if near the skin. Vascular malformations often require multiple sessions of embolization or sclerosis for adequate treatment. Total cure is possible but is rarely the case.

Sedation: Local anesthesia (lidocaine) and/or moderate sedation (fentanyl and midazolam).

Procedure time: 30-60 minutes.