Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome (KTS) | Diagnosis & Treatment

How is Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome diagnosed?

Doctors can sometimes see evidence of KTS in a prenatal ultrasound, and the capillary malformation (port-wine stain) is almost always apparent when your child is born.

If your child is older and you believe they have KTS, doctors in our Vascular Anomalies Center will start with a complete medical history and a thorough physical exam. In many cases, that initial exam gives us enough information to diagnose KTS.

If there’s any doubt, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following imaging tests, which can help determine the correct diagnosis and the appropriate next steps in treatment:

What are the treatment options for Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome?

There is no cure for Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome (KTS). Treatment aims to improve your child’s mobility, prevent infections or complications and manage pain and other symptoms. Treatment for KTS depends on its symptoms and severity. Some children with mild KTS may need a few treatments, while others with more complex cases may undergo several treatments and ongoing care.

Medications

Immunosuppressant medications have proven effective for slowing the growth of vascular anomalies and shrinking tumors. We use sirolimus, also known as rapamycin, which suppresses the immune system and targets lymphatic vessel formation.

Supportive care

Your child’s doctor may recommend various pain medications and antibiotics to help manage symptoms. Other options include:

  • Compression garments: Tight-fitting pieces of clothing worn on the affected limb can reduce pain and swelling. They can also help protect your child’s limb from bumps and scrapes. 
  • Heel inserts: These inserts help children walk normally if their legs are slightly different lengths. 
  • Anticoagulant therapy: Blood clots can form in the abnormal blood vessels of children with KTS and travel to the heart or lungs. Blood-thinning medications help prevent these clots from forming.

Surgery

A number of surgical options can treat complications from KTS. These include:

  • Debulking surgery: Some children need debulking surgery to remove abnormal vessels and overgrown tissue. This procedure can help reduce the size of your child’s affected limb and improve function. Though debulking is a major, invasive operation, it can be life-changing for children who have limited mobility due to limb abnormalities or painfully overgrown veins.
  • Orthopedic surgery: KTS can cause your child’s foot or leg to become excessively large. Orthopedic procedures include those that reshape the foot to better fit into a shoe, as well as epiphysiodesis, a procedure that stops the leg from growing once a child reaches his or her early teens.

Minimally invasive treatments

An interventional radiologist is a board-certified specialist who performs minimally invasive, targeted treatments throughout the body that do not require open surgery. For KTS, these include: