Vascular malformation is an abnormal collection of blood vessels that can occur anywhere in the body. In our body, arteries take oxygenated blood from the heart to the peripheral cells in the body. The arteries become smaller to become capillaries at the microscopic level, from where cells get oxygen and nutrients. The capillaries then take deoxygenated blood to the veins, which then take this blood to the heart and the lungs for oxygenation.
A vascular malformation is a condition where this network of vessels does not develop normally.
There are various types of vascular malformations in the body. The common types seen in practice are venous malformations and arterio-venous malformations. Venous malformations look like bluish or skin colored soft lumps under the skin or they can be extremely large causing gross enlargement or deformity of the affected part. Arterio-venous malformations are usually larger is size at presentation associated with high blood flow in the affected part that is usually obvious to the patient.
They can occur anywhere in the body. One of the common areas affected is face, and head and neck region. They are also common in the limbs.
Most of these are congenital, means you are born with it. Most of these grow with time. They are commonly seen in young patients. However, on some patients these are seen when they are older having slowly grown over the years.
Symptoms depend on their location in the body. The ones inside the brain are life-threatening. On the other hand, one of the commoner presentations can be as a soft lump in the limbs or facial region that may be obvious and unpleasant looking. There may also be associated pain and progressive increase in size over time with skin discolouration. They can also undergo repeated bleeding and can invade surrounding body structures, causing problems eventually.
These depend on the site, location and symptoms of the vascular malformation. These include minimally invasive treatment methods or surgery. Majority of the time, we can take care of them or at least control them using minimally invasive techniques. Some of these methods involve blocking the arteries or veins of the vascular malformation with tissue glue, coils or chemicals to cause clot formation in them.