Venous Malformation | Treatments

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What are the treatment options for a venous malformation?

Because there’s no cure for a venous malformation (VM), we focus on managing your child’s symptoms. We only recommend treating a VM if the malformation:

  • causes pain
  • creates a deformity
  • obstructs a vital structure such as your child's airway
  • affects your child's vision
  • causes gastrointestinal bleeding

Children with VMs sometimes need multidisciplinary care. Specialists that may be part of your child’s care team include the following:

  • dermatologist
  • plastic surgeon
  • general surgeon
  • interventional radiologist
  • orthopedist
  • hematologist

The treatment options we recommend may include:

Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy, in which an interventional radiologists injects a solution into the malformation that irritates the abnormal veins and makes them shrink or disappear, is our first choice of therapy.

Compression garments

If your child has a VM on his arm or leg, your doctor may recommend that he or she wear these tight-fitting pieces of clothing on the affected limb to reduce pain and swelling.

Anticoagulant therapy

One of the potential risks of a large VM is that a blood clot formed in the abnormal blood vessels will cause pain. Your doctor may recommend that your child take a daily dose of an anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medication to help prevent clots from forming. Venous malformations can also have problems with coagulation proteins that are consumed in the abnormal vessels and make a patient prone to bleeding as well as clotting so the use of anticoagulant therapy should be monitored by your doctor.

Sirolimus therapy

Medical treatment with sirolimus can decrease pain and the fullness of venous malformations and improve coagulation levels.

Surgical resection

Surgical resection is a procedure where a surgeon removes part or all of your child's lesion. We may recommend resection if:

  • A child has a small lesion that can easily be removed completely.
  • Your child has GVMs (which are small and typically don't respond well to sclerotherapy) or gastrointestinal VMs.
  • Your child has a deformity after undergoing sclerotherapy.

What is the long-term outlook for children with venous malformations?

A VM is a chronic condition, which means that it will stay with your child as he grows. That said, many kids — especially those with mild VMs — live normal, healthy lives.

VMs can expand after treatment, even with surgery or sclerotherapy. For this reason, a child with a VM may undergo multiple treatments. Depending on the severity of your child’s condition, your doctor may recommend a series of follow-up visits to check for complications and make sure that we’re managing your child’s VM effectively.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
For Referring Providers: 844-BCH-PEDS | 844-224-7337

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