Chapter 19: Vascular Malformations

Original authors: David H. Deaton, Byung Boong Lee, James Loredo, Richard F. Neville, William H. Pearce, and Heron E. Rodriguez

Abstracted by Raghu Motaganahalli


  • Introduction
  • Hemangioma
  • Congenital vascular malformations (venous malformations emphasis)
    • Overview
    • Vascular Malformations which stop maturing later in pregnancy
    • Vascular Malformationswhich stop maturing early in pregnancy
    • Complex Venous Malformations
      • Maffucci syndrome
      • Proteus syndrome
      • Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome
      • Parkes Weber syndrome
  • Conclusions
  • Commonly asked questions
    • My child has a reddish spongy mass on the cheek, what should I do?
    • My doctor thinks that my baby had a congenital venous malformation, what does this mean?
    • My seven year old hasa birth mark on the left leg and back, a varicose vein that I just noticed that goes down the outside of the leg, and his leg on that side may be a little bigger than the other side.  What could be the problem?
    • My child has a congenital venous malformation, are we at risk for other children with the same problem?


A hemangioma, commonly known as a "strawberry birthmark",  is the most common benign tumor of infancy.  These vascular tumors grow very fast during the first year of life to the fear of the parents but then stop growing and actually get smaller very slowly during childhood so that they are usually gone by school age.  Only in rare cases is any treatment needed. Congenital vascular malformations are the result of blood vessels not maturing (going to full development) while the infant is still in the mother's womb.  If this happens early, the abnormal blood vessels do not have the form usually seen with blood vessels and appears more like a spongy mass which can involve neighboring body parts.  If this happens later in the pregnancy, the blood vessels look more normal but are abnormally small, abnormally large or have unusually connections with other blood vessels. As a part of congenital vascular malformations, the venous malformation is the most common and possibly the easiest to manage. Congenital vascular malformations do not go away and will require a lifetime of care.

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