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Rady Children's Specialists

Venous Malformation

A venous malformation is a relatively common vascular birthmark. Because of the venous blood vessels, these lesions most often have a purple or blue hue. They are soft and compressible, and often get larger and deeper in color when gravity allows for blood to pool in the aberrant vessels. Although venous malformations may be largely asymptomatic, they can be tender when engorged with excess blood or with gradual enlargement. The slow-flow nature of these malformations sometimes leads to clot formation (thrombosis) within the malformation; these may subsequently lead to firm, calcified phleboliths.

Venous malformations can be an isolated finding, but are sometimes associated with a constellation of other findings. When found on an extremity, the increase in blood flow may cause hypertrophy of the affected limb. Consult your pediatric dermatologist for any findings that may be pertinent in your child.

Venous malformations are treated in a variety of different ways ranging from compression stockings to surgical excision, depending on the size and location of the lesion. Multidisciplinary care by a team of experts in vascular malformations is recommended.