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Vascular Anomalies

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Vascular anomalies are birthmarks caused by a disorder of the vascular (vein) system. They can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired (develop over time). These tumors consist of blood vessels including arteries, lymphatic vessels, and capillaries. Our goal is to provide expert consultation regarding your child’s vascular anomaly. Treatment ranges from minimally invasive to complex, extensive surgical procedures.

The Vascular Anomalies Clinic at University of Miami Health System meets monthly to develop a diagnosis and multi-disciplinary management plan, ensuring coordinated options for treatment of children with vascular anomalies. Your child may see some or all the following specialists while undergoing treatment for vascular anomalies:

One type of vascular anomaly we commonly treat is congenital nevus. These are pigmented skin lesions consisting of pigmented and nevus cells. Basically, these lesions are composed of blood vessels that have undergone abnormal development. They come from arteries, veins, lymphatic vessels, and/or capillaries. These are present at birth or shortly thereafter, and range from light brown to black in color.

Size varies from small to large, which may involve the entire torso (bathing trunk nevus) or the extremities (arms or legs). Increased hair growth is commonly involved in these lesions. These lesions are sometimes associated with malignant melanoma (skin cancer). Therefore, it's important they are assessed and treated by an experienced specialist.

Some other types of vascular anomalies we treat include:

  • Fast-flow malformations: lesions that can lead to heart failure and usually require specialized treatments
  • Hemangiomas (non-cancerous growth), including:
    • Infantile hemangioma: “strawberry” birthmarks that develop in the first year of life and then disappear over time
    • Non-involuting hemangioma: type of large congenital (present at birth) growth that fully forms while in utero
    • Kaposiform hemangioma: rare, aggressive tumor that usually appears during infancy or early childhood
    • Rapidly involuting hemangioma: growth that is present at birth, goes through a rapid growth phase in the baby’s early months, and usually completely disappears by the time the baby is 18 months old
  • Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome: rare, congenital disorder in which a baby’s arms or legs have red-purple birthmarks (port wine stains), varicose veins, and/or too much bone and soft tissue growth
  • Maffucci syndrome: disorder that causes benign (non-cancerous) growths of cartilage to develop within the bones
  • Parkes Weber syndrome: rare, congenital disorder that causes a large number of abnormal blood vessels
  • Proteus syndrome: rare disorder that leads to overgrowth of the bones, skin, and other tissues

Tests

Comprehensive exam
Your child’s doctor will conduct a thorough exam and ask for your health history to diagnose this condition.

Prenatal ultrasound
Sometimes, a baby’s vascular anomaly will be diagnosed on a regular ultrasound performed during the mother’s pregnancy.

Blood test
Your child’s specialist may order a blood test to confirm a diagnosis of a vascular anomaly.


Treatments

Surgery
For types of vascular anomalies that don’t go away on their own over time, your child may need surgery to have the anomaly removed. Your specialist will discuss treatment options specific to your child’s situation with you.


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