Vascular Anomalies Center

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The Vascular Anomalies Center (VAC) at Boston Children's Hospital is a team of 25 physicians—representing 17 medical and surgical specialties—who are experts in the field of vascular anomalies (blood vessels that have developed abnormally). These blood vessels include arteries, veins, lymphatic vessels and capillaries.

Our team collaborates in the evaluation and management of patients with vascular anomalies. Physicians meet each week to review medical histories, photographs and radiographic images and pathology slides of international and national cases.

Based on this information, the team provides diagnoses, treatment recommendations, and answers specific questions posed to them by physicians and families. The large volume of patients seen and reviewed each year contributes to our team's expertise and familiarity with the latest treatment options for children with vascular anomalies.

This ensures your child's treatment plan is carefully developed and coordinated with the expertise of our specialists in vascular anomalies and in other medical areas throughout the hospital.

The VAC offers a wide range of services:

  • The latest diagnostic and treatment approaches, many of which were pioneered by our staff

  • Domestic and international consultation with physicians, patients and families

  • Access to investigational drug therapy and basic and clinical research aimed at improving the care of all children with these disorders

  • Extensive information about educational organizations, support and networking groups and other patient and family resources

  • Comprehensive consultation services to physicians and families worldwide, including referrals to local medical centers and physicians when appropriate

  • Support for you and your family through one-on-one consultation with physicians

Our Expertise

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The Boston Children's Hospital VAC is often regarded as the premier center for the treatment of people with vascular anomalies. Many of our physicians are internationally renowned for their expertise and innovations within this highly specialized field.

Experts from 25 specialties at Boston Children's meet each week to review medical histories, photographs, radiographic images and pathology slides of patients referred to them from around the world totaling more than 500 cases annually. Based on this information, the team provides diagnoses and treatment recommendations, and answers specific questions posed to them by physicians and families.

  • All of our physicians hold faculty appointments at Harvard Medical School.
     
  • The Center at Boston Children's holds three interdisciplinary clinics each month and evaluates more than 1,800 patients annually. This allows patients to be seen by more than one specialist during the same visit, and allows physicians to share assessments and concerns with one another and with patients and families.
     
  • VAC conducts research that may lead to the development of new, more effective therapies and perhaps ultimately result in ways to prevent these anomalies, including:
    • Isolating a stem cell that seems to be the primary cause of infantile hemangioma.

    • First to use interferon alpha in the treatment of children with life- or vision-threatening hemangiomas.

    • One of our physicians described a simple technique to reduce scarring when removing a hemangioma.

    • Another physician developed innovative techniques to control intestinal bleeding caused by certain colorectal vascular malformations.

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About Vascular Anomalies

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Vascular anomalies are composed of blood vessels, which have developed abnormally. These blood vessels include arteries, veins, lymphatic vessels, and/or capillaries.

The Vascular Anomalies Center classifies vascular anomalies as:

Hemangiomas and vascular malformations are the two major groups of vascular anomalies. Although lesions in these two groups often look quite similar, they are biologically very different and, therefore, require different treatment.

How to Take Photographs of Vascular Anomalies

Clear, full-view images of vascular anomalies are essential to remote evaluation. Click here for a .pdf document about how to take photos of vascular anomalies.

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A Rare Girl Battles a Rare Disease at Boston Children's

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Nine-year-old Riley was born with CLOVES syndrome, an exceptionally rare disorder that is causing increasingly aggressive "lumps and bumps" on and in her body. She's now in the midst of experimental drug therapy at Boston Children's Hospital.

Follow Riley's story:

... and read Riley's mom's thoughts about her family's experience.

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  • 617-355-5226
  • International: +1-617-355-5209
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