Diagnosis and management of extensive vascular malformations of the lower limb: part I. Clinical diagnosis

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2011 Nov;65(5):893-906; quiz 907-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2010.12.047.


There is significant confusion in the literature when describing vascular anomalies, and vascular malformations are often misnamed or incorrectly classified. Part I of this two-part series on the diagnosis and management of extensive vascular malformations of the lower limbs will discuss the dermatologist's role in the diagnosis of these lesions. At least nine types of vascular malformations with specific clinical and radiologic characteristics must be distinguished in the lower limbs: Klippel-Trénaunay syndrome, port-wine stain with or without hypertrophy, cutis marmorata telangiectatica congenita, macrocephaly-capillary malformation, Parkes Weber syndrome, Stewart-Bluefarb syndrome, venous malformation, glomuvenous malformation, and lymphatic malformation. This article highlights the differences in clinical appearance and discusses the differential diagnosis of extensive vascular malformations in an attempt to ensure earlier diagnosis and better outcomes for these patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Child
  • Glomus Tumor / diagnosis
  • Hemangioma, Capillary / congenital
  • Hemangioma, Capillary / diagnosis
  • Hemangioma, Capillary / epidemiology
  • Hemangioma, Cavernous / congenital
  • Hemangioma, Cavernous / diagnosis
  • Hemangioma, Cavernous / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Leg / blood supply*
  • Lymphatic Abnormalities / diagnosis
  • Port-Wine Stain / diagnosis
  • Port-Wine Stain / epidemiology
  • Proteus Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Skin Abnormalities / diagnosis
  • Skin Abnormalities / therapy
  • Syndrome
  • Vascular Malformations / classification
  • Vascular Malformations / diagnosis*
  • Vascular Malformations / epidemiology
  • Vascular Malformations / therapy