When veins develop abnormally, they can form what is known as a venous malformation. Vascular malformations present in a variety of ways. They can be small and discrete or large and diffuse. They may be superficial or deep. In the most severe form, venous malformations can be very deforming. They are typically present at birth and can grow proportionately with the individual. Varicose veins sometimes may be confused for venous malformations, however, treatment is not necessarily very different.
Symptoms can include swelling, pain, and poor cosmetic appearance. When venous malformations infiltrate muscles and bones, they can cause weakness, stiffness, osteoporosis and brittle bones. Sometimes, firm nodules or calcifications (aka, phleboliths) may be felt inside these lesions. These are usually harmless. Despite these symptoms, which may come and go, patients generally are very functional and can have productive lives.
As with other vascular malformations, there is much confusion in proper diagnosis. These lesions may be referred to as “cavernoushemangiomas.” This is a misnomer since true hemangiomas are considered benign tumors and behave much differently than venous malformations. In turn, improper diagnosis can lead to ineffective and unnecessary treatments that can potentially lead to disability or disfigurement. Surgical intervention and injections to reduce the size of venous malformations (aka, sclerotherapy) may be used separately or in conjunction to minimize symptoms. Often, patients are subjected inappropriately to multiple sessions of laser therapy, resulting in inadequate relief of symptoms and lack of cosmetic improvement.
Dr. Panossian is skilled in the proper diagnosis and interventions necessary for children and adults seeking relief of their symptoms due to venous malformations. Make an appointment today for a consultation.