Combined/Complex Malformations 

Mother hugging her daughter

Combined/Complex Malformations 

About Combined/Complex Malformations

The vascular or circulatory system is made up of capillaries, arteries, veins, and lymphatics that carry blood and lymphatic fluids throughout the body. Vascular malformations that are complex or combined are caused by several different types of abnormally formed vessels. The most common types of combined vascular malformation are: 

  • Capillary Venous-Lymphatic Malformations (CLVMs) — rare blood vessel malformations involving capillaries, veins, and lymphatic vessels with several different appearances and complications. 
  • Cutis Mamorata Telangiectatica Congenita (CMTC) — rare capillary-venous malformations that have patches of skin with a purple or blue appearance resembling marble or a fishnet.


Combined/complex malformations symptoms can vary depending on the degree and severity of the disorder. Some symptoms might include: 

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Physical deformity


Complex vascular anomalies are caused by changes in certain regions in the genetic blueprint that controls blood vessel development.


Columbia doctors will perform a complete medical history and physical examination. The malformations can also be diagnosed by ultrasound and/or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to evaluate other tissue problems and see whether the malformation involves internal structures.

Treatment Options

Because vascular malformations can be complicated, Columbia specialists use the most up-to-date diagnostic techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and collaborate with experts throughout the Columbia University Irving Medical Center to provide the most cutting-edge, safest, and most modern and advanced treatment options, which may include: 

  • Compression therapy — a customized tight-fitting garment that helps control swelling and pain in the limb.
  • Orthopedic interventions — shoe inserts that may be used to compensate for different limb lengths.
  • Laser therapy treatment — to reduce the discoloration of the skin, pulsed-dye laser may help to lighten the color of the capillary malformation or a residual hemangioma.
  • Sclerotherapy — a medicine gets injected into the malformation to prevent refilling, which decreases the size of the malformation/disfigurement and can improve symptoms.
  • Embolization — a minimally invasive procedure that shrinks the malformation by blocking off the abnormal blood vessels.  
  • Surgery — to remove the malformation and decrease symptoms.
  • Drug therapy — can include use of blood thinners to treat blood clots that can cause pain, as well as drugs that act on the cell pathways to prevent growth of blood vessels be used to manage specific forms of vascular malformations on its own or in combination with other treatments.

Why Choose Columbia?

Columbia vascular anomaly physicians are experts in diagnosing underlying disorders, and our specialists use laser and surgical techniques to help our patients achieve a normal appearance. We work with experts in genetics, surgery, dermatology, pediatrics, pediatric orthopedics, plastic surgery, interventional radiology, and other specialities to develop the right treatment plan with compassionate and comprehensive care for your child and your family.