What are venular malformations?

This red or pink birthmark varies greatly in size, from less than an inch in diameter to as much as half of the body surface. Over time, the texture may become rougher and thicker. In rare cases, a venular malformation is a sign of Sturge-Weber syndrome, Klippel-Traenaunay syndrome, or other congenital (from birth) syndromes. Venular malformations are sometimes called port wine stains.

What are the symptoms of venular malformations?

The malformations appear as dark red, flat areas on the skin that do not feel any different than unmarked skin.

How are venular malformations diagnosed?

Venular malformations are usually diagnosed by their visual appearance. If they involve the eye or spinal area, doctors may order additional testing to be sure it is not a sign of another complication.

How are venular malformations treated?

In many instances, venular malformations are left alone. Perhaps the most famous example of this is the venular malformation visible on former General Secretary of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev.

In other instances, a venular malformation is treated for cosmetic reasons. Sometimes it must be treated as it can grow over time and produce bleeding, disfigurement, or loss of function (especially those near the eye or mouth.)

Laser therapy is the most effective and popular treatment for venular malformations. Laser may lighten the venular malformation and, in many cases, make it disappear. Laser treatment occurs over time and may need to be continued intermittently into adulthood.

About treatment for venular malformations at Children's

Venular malformations are commonly treated through Children's Vascular Anomalies Center, which is located on our Minneapolis campus. By coordinating experts from several pediatric disciplines into a single visit, families experience a new level of convenience in an environment focused exclusively on pediatrics. Every child is assigned a pediatric nurse case manager who coordinates all treatment and communication between care providers and the family.

Contact Us

For consultation, referral, or an appointment, call the Vascular Anomalies Center at 612-813-7100.