Welcome to the

Hemangioma & Vascular Malformations Program

We provide treatment for hemangiomas, lymphedema, and arterial, venous, and lymphatic malformations.

When your child is born with a hemangioma, venous malformation, or lymphatic malformation, you are understandably full of questions. You want to know the extent of the condition, and how it will affect your child as they grow. These abnormal growths can be exclusively cosmetic, affecting appearance, or cause other problems involving vision, breathing, swallowing, and other functions.

At the Hemangioma and Vascular Malformations Program, our doctors provide highly specialized care throughout the lifespan—starting before birth, when conditions may be detected during prenatal screening, and continuing through infancy, childhood, and into adulthood. We also offer preconception consultations for adults with a history of vascular malformation who are planning pregnancy.

We provide treatment that is specific to each person’s individual condition. Our team of specialists works together to help you make informed care decisions for you or your child.

Vascular Malformations

Vascular malformations are abnormal growths of blood or lymph vessels. They may not be noticeable at birth, but can become more visible as a child grows. They do not go away or shrink on their own. Depending on the location, they can affect a child’s appearance.

Vascular malformations interfere with the flow of blood through veins, arteries, or capillaries; and the flow of lymph, the fluid that carries disease-fighting white blood cells through the lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes. This can cause pain and swelling, as well as problems with blood clotting, circulation, and, in rare cases, the functioning of other systems throughout the body.

Vascular malformations fall into the following categories:

  • capillary malformations, including birthmarks such as port wine stains, which are present at birth and appear as red-purplish skin discolorations
  • venous malformations, which appear as growths or blue-tinged bruises
  • lymphatic malformations, which can cause visible lumps or small bumps, sometimes called blebs, which may leak
  • arteriovenous malformations, which form when arteries and veins become tangled

Vascular malformations can occur anywhere in the body, and often require imaging tests to determine the extent and exact location.

Vascular malformations may be detected before birth during prenatal ultrasound. They are also diagnosed throughout childhood, and in some cases are not detected until adulthood.

Hemangiomas of Infancy

Hemangiomas of infancy are benign tumors that are usually not obvious at birth but typically appear within the first several weeks of life. They may be on the surface of the skin and grow outward or under the skin, or both. It is normal for hemangiomas to increase in size during the first several months of life.

Not all hemangiomas require treatment, depending on the location, size, and stage of growth. Early referral to a specialist and prompt evaluation and treatment can help prevent problems and minimize the need for surgery or other interventions.

Treatment for Vascular Malformations and Hemangiomas

Care is coordinated by NYU Langone experts in many specialties, including dermatology, gastroenterology, genetics, hematology, interventional radiology, maternal–fetal medicine, neurology, neuroradiology, oculoplastic surgery, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, plastic surgery, pulmonology, and radiology.

Vascular malformations and some hemangiomas of infancy may be associated with other syndromes. Our specialists monitor for signs of these syndromes so that your child receives the best possible care. During your child’s first visit with our team, we take a medical history, perform a physical exam, and talk with you about your child’s condition. When indicated, we recommend diagnostic testing, such as blood tests, ultrasound exams, and MRI scans, offered without sedation for infants less than 2 months old. We develop a treatment plan that can include medication, laser treatments, nonsurgical treatment by interventional radiologists, or surgery.

For adults, we talk with you about your medical history and current symptoms, and develop a treatment plan based on your goals, whether they are cosmetic, or related to pregnancy or existing medical complications.

As part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, we provide children and their families with support services through Sala Institute for Child and Family Centered Care. This includes child life specialists who can be a calming presence during medical visits, testing, and treatment.

Rehabilitation care, including occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech–language pathology, is available through Rusk Rehabilitation.

Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone

Our pediatric experts provide the best care possible for children with conditions ranging from minor illnesses to complex, more serious conditions.

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Our Team of Doctors

Our team includes a diverse group of specialists who treat vascular anomalies in infants, children, and adults.

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Our Leadership

  • Director | Pediatric Hematology—Oncology

    Dr. Blei has devoted her career to the understanding of hemangiomas and vascular malformations. Her clinical practice is focused on children and adults with vascular anomalies, including hemangiomas, vascular malformations, lymphedema, and syndromes associated with vascular anomalies. She provides prenatal consults and pre-pregnancy consults for women with vascular anomalies. She is a managing board member and president-elect of the International Society for the Study of Vascular Anomalies, where she served as the scientific chair for eight years.

  • Megan M. Gaffey at Hemangioma & Vascular Malformations Program
    Co-Director | Pediatric Otolaryngology, Otolaryngology

    Dr. Gaffey is a pediatric otolaryngologist who specializes in medical and surgical care for children with complex vascular anomalies that affect the head and neck. In addition, she uses laser surgery techniques to remove vascular anomalies throughout the nose, mouth, and airway, and performs surgery to remove hemangiomas.

Plan Your Visit

Hemangioma & Vascular Malformations Program

Hemangioma & Vascular Malformations Program

150 East 32nd Street
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10016