Hemangiomas, vascular malformations, and lymphovenous malformations: classification and methods of treatment

Plast Reconstr Surg. 1993 Jun;91(7):1216-30. doi: 10.1097/00006534-199306000-00006.


A total of 207 patients with hemangiomas, vascular malformations, and lymphovenous malformations were treated by the same surgeon from 1980 to 1990. Thirty-seven patients with true hemangiomas underwent surgical treatment. Only those hemangiomas which caused functional or developmental disturbances or those with complications were treated; many more were allowed to regress spontaneously. Sixty-five patients with low-flow and 16 with high-flow vascular malformations were treated by using a variety of surgical approaches. In low-flow lesions, sclerosant therapy can be extremely effective, either alone, in small lesions, or combined with surgical resection or embolization, in larger lesions. Preoperative embolization and surgical excision are the treatment of choice in high-flow malformations. Twenty-seven patients with lymphovenous malformations had only surgical excision with a high success rate. Sixty-two patients with acquired "senile hemangiomas" underwent a single local excision with excellent results. When indicated, angiography has been of great value as a diagnostic procedure to provide information about the vascular dynamics and the extent of these lesions, although magnetic resonance imaging is now being used more frequently for this purpose. Selective angiography also was used as a therapeutic modality when embolization was part of the treatment protocol. A new classification based on clinical, histologic, and vascular flow characteristics of these lesions has been used to simplify the present nomenclature and to help in selection of the most appropriate treatment. It has the added value of being in the language of the radiologist, who should be a member of the vascular anomalies team.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arteriovenous Malformations / classification*
  • Arteriovenous Malformations / epidemiology
  • Arteriovenous Malformations / surgery
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Embolization, Therapeutic
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / classification
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / surgery
  • Hemangioma / classification*
  • Hemangioma / epidemiology
  • Hemangioma / surgery
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic System / abnormalities*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sclerotherapy