Treatments We Offer

At Columbia, we use a variety of treatments available for vascular anomalies. Our doctors will help patients and their families choose the best one depending on the type and severity of the anomaly. No treatment may be necessary in many cases, particularly with vascular tumors. 

Vascular anomalies vary widely but can be complex and affect many different systems in the body, so each child needs individualized care from a collaborative team of experts. Our twice-monthly Vascular Anomalies Clinic is designed to give our patients and their families the expertise of many specialists in one place. Several physicians will see your child at each clinic appointment, who then meet to discuss your child's care and create a treatment plan tailored specifically to them.

The best and most effective treatment for your child's condition depends on the type of anomaly, its location, the vessels involved, and your child's overall health. Vascular anomalies can be uncomplicated and not need medical intervention, they may require treatment for cosmetic reasons, or they may be more severe and very challenging to treat. More complex vascular anomalies will require several different treatment options. A team of specialists is critical to the proper management of these conditions. 

Some of the most common treatment options that Columbia doctors may recommend include: 

  • Observation and monitoring — vascular anomalies that are not causing symptoms may only require regular follow-up visits for monitoring.
  • Cauterization — involves applying heat to a specific part of the body to remove a growth or close a wound. It is typically used for small tumors on the surface of the skin.
  • Cryotherapy — uses extreme cold to freeze and remove abnormal tissue.
  • Embolization — interventional radiologists use imaging to guide small, thin tubes called catheters through blood vessels to the affected to close off problematic blood vessels.
  • Medications — vascular tumors such as hemangiomas often respond to medications such as beta blockers. These can be given orally or topically.
  • Laser therapy— uses lasers to destroy dilated capillaries and other vessels that may be causing discoloration or other abnormalities on the surface of the skin.
  • Sclerotherapy — involves injecting a liquid medicine into vascular and lymphatic malformations that first cause inflammation and then shrinkage.
  • Surgery — tumors that do not shrink and are in areas that impede daily life, then surgical removal may be necessary.

Genetic Counseling and Testing

Many disorders involving the capillaries, veins, and lymphatic system occur in combination with known genetic disorders. Columbia's pediatric clinical geneticists are members of the Vascular Anomalies Group and work to determine whether there is an underlying genetic cause for your child's condition. We provide education, support, and counseling for patients and families undergoing evaluation. Children and their families may be referred to our genetics team to:

  • Confirm a clinical diagnosis in a child with a vascular anomaly.
  • Identify children at-risk for developing an anomaly.
  • Receive genetic counseling and assess the risk of a recurrence. 

Some of these treatments may be used in combination or by themselves. Rest assured, Columbia doctors have the experience and the latest medical techniques to make sure your child receives the most advanced treatment possible.