What is a Lymphovascular Malformation?
A lymphovascular malformation is an abnormal mass of lymphatic vessels (part of the immune system) that can occur in children. It can grow on any body part, including the face and neck. Malformations increase size over time and may need to be removed or reduced.
Lymphovascular malformations can occur just under the skin’s surface or deeper. They may also contain macrocysts (large pockets of lymph fluid) or microcysts (smaller pockets).
Your facial plastic and reconstructive surgery experts can provide treatment to decrease the size and symptoms of lymphovascular malformations.
Lymphovascular malformations are benign (not cancerous).
As a result, if they do not hurt or impact function, your physician might recommend monitoring rather than treating them. However, these malformations often grow over time and may become painful or infected, which may drive the need for treatment.
Some patients may receive treatment to remove a lymphovascular malformation affecting their appearance. Children and adults can receive treatment.
How do Doctors Diagnose Lymphovascular Malformations?
Doctors use a physical exam to help diagnose the condition. If special imaging is required, doctors may also use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasound to confirm their diagnosis.
After your diagnosis, you will meet with your physician to discuss your treatment options.
Treatments may include:
- Drainage: shrinking the malformation size by removing some of the lymphatic fluid
- Embolization: shrinking the vessels in the malformation using a specific medicine
- Sclerotherapy: sdissolving or shrinking the malformation using specific medicines
- Laser therapy: s removing or shrinking part of the malformation using a strong beam of light
- Radiofrequency ablation: sdestroying some or all of the malformation using radio waves
- Surgery: sremoving some or all of the malformation using incisions (cuts), recommended for certain malformations
At the start of your procedure, you will receive general anesthesia (where an anesthesiologist will put you in a sleep-like state). In some cases, you may only need local anesthesia to numb the affected area.
During the procedure, your physician will remove or shrink the malformation.
Doctors can perform most of these treatments as outpatient procedures, which means you can go home the same day.
It’s important to note that lymphovascular malformations may grow back. Patients may need to continue to receive treatment over time.
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