Fibro-Adipose Vascular Anomaly (FAVA) | Diagnosis & Treatment

How is FAVA diagnosed?

Diagnosing fibro-adipose vascular anomaly can be challenging because some of its features overlap with other vascular anomalies, such as venous malformations. In addition to a complete medical history and thorough physical exam, the following imaging tests appear to be the most effective means of diagnosing FAVA:

What are the treatment options for FAVA?

Because FAVA is such a new diagnosis, there is no single widely accepted treatment for it. However, most therapeutic approaches involve removal of the abnormal veins and lymphatic vessels present in this condition. At Boston Children’s Hospital, we prefer to treat FAVA with cryoablation because it has fewer risks and complications and offers better results than surgery.

More complex cases may require medication management or other minimally invasive procedures.

Treatment options for FAVA include:

  • Cryoablation: Sometimes called cryotherapy, this minimally invasive procedure uses extreme cold to destroy painful or diseased tissue.
  • Sirolimus: For patients who cannot be treated with cryotherapy, we use medication management with sirolimus. Also known as rapamycin, this oral medication is an immunosuppressant that has been found to improve symptoms, including pain, and slow the growth of abnormal lymphatic vessels.
  • Embolization: This minimally invasive, image-guided treatment involves injecting a special material or a device into a blood vessel in order to block or close it.
  • Surgery: Options include tendon lengthening to relieve difficulties in extending or flexing the affected limb or removing the fatty, fibrous tissue that makes up the anomaly.
  • Physical therapy: Therapists work with children to ease pain and increase range of movement in a limb affected by FAVA.

For our patients with complex vascular syndromes or other conditions in addition to FAVA, we can combine cryoablation with other treatments. These patients may undergo sclerotherapy, embolization and cryoablation in one or two sessions — reducing the number of hospital stays and shortening your child’s recovery time.