Peripheral Vascular Malformations

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Did you know that most vascular malformations, though present at birth, may not always reveal their true complexity until later in life?

At Vein Doctors Sydney, we are committed to diagnosing and offering advanced treatments for vascular malformations. If you suspect any irregularities in your blood vessels, don’t wait to discover their tales.

Book an appointment with our specialists today.

What are vascular malformations?

Vascular malformations are vascular anomalies that happen when blood vessels don’t form correctly during development. They can affect arteries, veins, capillaries, or lymphatic vessels and cause various symptoms and problems based on where they are and how big they are.

Vascular malformations are rare, but detecting them early and getting the right treatment is vital to avoid complications and improve the lives of those affected.

vascular malformation
Vein Doctors Sydney offers several effective treatment options for vascular malformation.

Types of peripheral vascular malformations

The types include:

  • Arteriovenous Malformations (AVMs): Arteriovenous malformations involve abnormal connections between arteries and veins. This direct connection bypasses the capillary network, causing a high-flow pathway, which can lead to complications like swelling, discolouration, and an increased risk of bleeding.
  • Venous Malformations: Venous malformations are characterised by irregular and dilated veins.
  • Capillary Malformations: Capillary malformations, also known as port-wine stains, vascular malformation birthmarks, or just vascular birthmarks, result from dilated capillaries in the skin. They appear as red or purple patches and do not fade over time.
  • Lymphatic Malformations: A lymphatic malformation involves abnormalities in the lymph vessels, leading to fluid accumulation and the formation of cysts. These venolymphatic malformations can cause swelling and discomfort in the affected area.

Causes and risk factors of vascular malformation

While the exact cause may not always be known, certain risk factors have been associated with the development of vascular malformations:

  • Family History: Having a family history of vascular malformations or certain genetic disorders can increase the risk of an individual developing similar conditions.
  • Genetic Syndromes: Some genetic syndromes, such as Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT) or Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome, are known to be linked with an increased risk of vascular malformations.
  • Trauma: In some cases, trauma or injury to a blood vessel during early development or later in life can trigger the formation of vascular malformations.
  • Abnormal Development in the Womb: Certain disruptions in the development of blood vessels during fetal growth can result in vascular malformations.

Symptoms of vascular malformations

The symptoms of vascular malformations can vary depending on the type of malformation, its location, and its size. Some common symptoms may include:

  • Swelling: Vascular malformations can cause localised swelling in the affected area, which may be intermittent or persistent.
  • Pain: Some malformations can be painful, especially if they compress surrounding nerves or tissues.
  • Discolouration: In certain cases, the skin over the malformation may appear darker or have a reddish or purplish hue.
  • Visible Lumps or Bumps: Vascular malformations can create visible lumps or bumps on or beneath the skin’s surface.
  • Functional Impairment: Malformations in specific locations, such as the limbs, may restrict movement and affect daily activities.
  • Bleeding: Larger or more complex malformations can be prone to bleeding, which may vary from minor to severe.
  • Cosmetic Concerns: Depending on the location and size of the malformation, it may cause cosmetic issues that can impact self-esteem and body image.
  • Infections: Some malformations may be susceptible to infections due to the abnormal structure of the blood vessels.

Diagnosis of vascular malformations

The diagnosis of vascular malformations involves a comprehensive evaluation which typically includes the following steps:

  • Medical History Review
  • Physical Examination
  • Ultrasound
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
  • Biopsy (if necessary)

Benefits of vascular malformations treatment

The benefits include:

  • Symptom Relief: Many vascular malformations can cause symptoms such as swelling, pain, and functional impairment.
  • Prevention of Complications: Some vascular malformations can lead to complications like bleeding, infections, or compression of nearby structures.
  • Improved Aesthetics: Vascular malformations that are visible on the skin, such as port-wine stains, can cause cosmetic concerns and affect self-esteem.
  • Enhanced Mobility: Large or complex vascular malformations in the limbs can restrict movement and daily activities.
  • Reduced Health Risks: High-flow vascular malformations, such as arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), can strain the heart and lead to potential cardiovascular complications.
  • Improved Overall Functioning: By reducing the impact of vascular malformations on daily life, treatment can enhance an individual’s ability to participate in work, school, and social activities, promoting a more fulfilling lifestyle.
vascular malformation
A thorough medical exam, imaging scans and a biopsy may be used to diagnose this condition

Vascular malformations treatment options

Treatment of vascular malformation includes:

  • Conservative Management: For smaller or less symptomatic malformations, a watchful waiting approach may be adopted, where regular monitoring and observation are conducted to ensure the malformation does not worsen or cause significant issues.
  • Medications: In some cases, medications may be prescribed to manage symptoms like pain or inflammation associated with vascular malformations.
  • Sclerotherapy: Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure that involves injecting a sclerosing agent directly into the malformation. The agent causes the blood vessels to shrink and close off, effectively reducing the size and symptoms of the malformation.
  • Embolisation: Embolisation is a procedure where a special material is placed into the blood vessels of the malformation to block blood flow and reduce its size. This can be particularly effective for arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and other high-flow malformations.
  • Laser Therapy: Laser treatment may be used to address cosmetic concerns or reduce the visibility of superficial vascular malformations, such as port-wine stains and for vascular birthmark removal.
  • Surgery: Surgical intervention may be required for larger or more complex malformations that do not respond to other treatments.
  • Radiation Therapy: In some cases, radiation therapy may be used to shrink or slow the growth of certain vascular malformations.
  • Compression Therapy: For certain types of vascular malformations, compression garments or stockings may be prescribed to help manage symptoms like swelling and improve blood flow.

Cost of vascular malformation removal Sydney

The cost of vascular malformation treatment is dependent on the specific type of treatment recommended for your individual condition.

A detailed costing of the treatment will be provided after the initial consultation. We will also have a better indication of how many treatments may be required for the best results.

Please contact us for more information on costs.

Meet Our Expert Team

Dr Ryan McConnell

At Vein Doctors Sydney, you are in the capable hands of our highly trained team, dedicated to your well-being from the moment you step through our doors.

Led by Dr McConnell, an Australian-trained specialist in Endovascular Medicine and Interventional Neuroradiology, our team brings extensive expertise in both diagnostic and interventional ultrasound. Rest assured, you’ll receive top-notch care and personalised attention throughout your journey with us.

How to schedule a consultation

For more information on our services and the cost of each service, or to schedule a consultation at our clinic, please contact us at one of the following:
Dr. Ryan McConnell

Our Vein Clinics Locations in Sydney

Vein Doctors Sydney

Suite 503, 39 East Esplanade, Manly NSW 2095

Our Open Hours:
8:30 am – 5 pm
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday

Vein Doctors Sydney St Leonards

North Shore Health Hub Suite 3, Level 2, Tower A/7 Westbourne St, St Leonards NSW 2065, Australia

Our Open Hours:
8:30am – 5pm
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday

Vein Doctors Sydney Kingswood

Suite 5, Level 3/13 Barber Ave, Kingswood NSW 2747, Australia

Our Open Hours:
8:30 am – 5 pm
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday


If you require more information on vascular malformation treatment, please read our most frequently asked questions:

Recurrence chances vary; smaller malformations treated with minimally invasive procedures may have lower risk, while larger or complex malformations could have higher chances of recurrence.

The impact varies based on malformation type, location, and severity; larger or symptomatic malformations may cause discomfort, pain, and functional limitations, while smaller ones may have minimal impact.

Arteriovenous Malformations (AVMs) are tangled networks of blood vessels that directly connect arteries to veins, disrupting normal blood flow. Venous malformations involve irregular and dilated veins, causing pooling of blood, while lymphatic malformations result from abnormalities in the lymphatic vessels, leading to fluid accumulation and cyst formation.

Yes, interventional radiologists and vascular malformation specialists are the medical professionals you can seek treatment for venous malformations. They have specialised training in interventional radiology.

This information is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment. It is aimed at presenting a perspective only and is not a substitute for a prescription. Anyone experiencing a medical condition should consult their doctor.

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