Treatment at Columbia
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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. Your child will be seen by a number of physicians at each clinic appointment who then meet to discuss your child's care and create a treatment plan that is tailored specifically to him or her.
The best and most effective treatment for your child's condition depends on the type of anomaly, its location, which vessels are 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 serious 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.
Treatments that your child's team may recommend include:
- Observation and monitoring: Vascular anomalies that are not causing symptoms may only require regular follow-up visits for monitoring.
- Medication: Vascular anomalies can sometimes be treated with medications.
- Interventional radiology (embolization and sclerotherapy): Interventional radiologists use imaging to guide small, thin tubes called catheters through blood vessels to the affected area, allowing them to target treatments directly to the vascular anomaly. Through embolization and sclerotherapy, problematic blood vessels can be closed off or treated in a minimally invasive procedure.
- Surgery: Surgical treatment is used to remove select vascular anomalies if they are very localized or causes disfigurement. More complex lesions may require reconstruction after removal of the vascular anomaly.
Genetic Counseling and Testing
Many disorders involving the capillaries, veins, and/or the 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 family 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 to assess the risk of a recurrence