Some types of vascular malformations, such as the venous type, can be treated with nonsurgical therapies to reduce their size and manage symptoms, such as swelling and pain. Nonsurgical therapies may also help shrink a vascular malformation so it can be surgically removed.
Sclerotherapy is the most common treatment for venous malformations on the skin. In this procedure, an interventional radiologist injects a substance, such as alcohol or sodium tetradecyl sulfate, directly into the malformation to irritate the affected blood vessels, causing scar tissue to form. The scarring blocks blood flow, causing the malformation to collapse and shrink.
Sclerotherapy is usually performed with general anesthesia. Your doctor may use CT imaging or ultrasound during the procedure to determine where to inject the substance. Usually, several treatments are required to manage a venous malformation.
Compression therapy, which involves wearing a tight garment to compress the skin, can be used to reduce swelling and pain in venous malformations that cover a large portion of your arm or leg. This approach may also reduce the risk of developing thrombophlebitis—blood clots that are painful, but not life-threatening.
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