Vascular Malformations

What is vascular malformations?

Vascular malformations can affect your arteries, veins, lymph vessels or a combination of the three. If you have a vascular malformation, you've had it since birth, even if you didn't realize it. That's because vascular malformations are congenital (since birth) and they happen during the development of your vascular system. Some types of vascular malformations are genetic (inherited).

A vascular malformation can be as simple as a raised, red birthmark or as serious as a problem with a major artery leading to your heart. Main Line Health offers nonsurgical and surgical treatment options for all types of vascular malformations.

Symptoms of vascular malformations

Many times, a vascular malformation is obvious at birth, especially if it is marked on the skin. However, some vascular malformation symptoms do not show up until later in life.

The symptoms of a vascular malformation depend on where it forms in your body. The most common symptoms include:

  • Birthmark on the skin over the malformation
  • Bleeding from the bowels, uterus or bladder, depending on the malformation
  • Coughing up blood
  • Fatigue
  • Lump under the skin
  • Pain at the site of the malformation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin lesions that bleed or leak lymph fluid

If no vascular malformation is seen during a physical examination, but you have symptoms of one, your doctor may order an MRI to see if one is located deeper beneath the skin.

Vascular malformation treatment options

Main Line Health offers both nonsurgical and surgical treatment options for vascular malformations.

Our interventional radiologists use image-guided procedures to close down the blood flow into the malformation and eliminate your symptoms. Sometimes a stent can be placed to keep the blood from flowing through the malformation.

For vascular malformations that pose only a cosmetic concern, such as port-wine stains (red birthmarks), we offer laser surgery to remove these capillary malformations.


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