Diagnosis and management of pediatric cervicofacial venous malformations: retrospective review from a vascular anomalies center

Laryngoscope. 2010 Feb;120(2):229-35. doi: 10.1002/lary.20715.


Objectives/hypothesis: Venous malformations are rare congenital aberrations of vein development frequently presenting in the head and neck. Without treatment, venous malformations cause progressive disfigurement, dysfunction, and bleeding. In this study, we analyzed a cohort of pediatric patients with cervicofacial venous malformations (CFVM), with the goal of developing a treatment algorithm for these complex lesions.

Study design: Eleven-year retrospective chart review. The setting was a vascular anomalies center at a pediatric tertiary hospital. Nineteen patients (10 male, 9 female), aged 11 months to 17 years, presented with CFVM.

Methods: Patient charts were reviewed for demographics, signs and symptoms, timing of first and subsequent interventions, total number and type of interventions performed, and procedural complications. A family questionnaire supplemented outcome measures by determining the perception of disease control.

Results: Presenting symptoms for CFVM include growth (100%), disfigurement (63%), pain (58%), respiratory compromise (42%), and dysphagia (32%). A mean of 6.7 interventions were performed per patient (median, 6; range, 2-12), requiring a mean of 0.8 excisions, 4.6 laser treatments, and 1.3 sclerotherapy injections. Average age at first procedure was 8.5 years. Time between treatments averaged 8.9 months. Four complications occurred in 127 procedures (3.1%). Questionnaire responses indicated subjective improvement following therapy. A management algorithm could be developed from therapeutic outcomes.

Conclusions: Treatment of CFVM can be safely and successfully performed with a combination of laser therapy, sclerotherapy, and surgical excision. A treatment algorithm involving multiple procedures during childhood can lead to successful management of CFVM.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Laser Therapy
  • Male
  • Mouth / blood supply*
  • Neck / blood supply*
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Vascular Malformations / diagnosis*
  • Vascular Malformations / surgery
  • Vascular Malformations / therapy*
  • Veins / abnormalities