What is a vascular malformation?
Vascular malformation is a general term used to refer to blood vessel abnormalities in veins and/or arteries. Congenital vascular anomalies of veins are called Venous Malformations (VM). Anomalies of both the arteries and veins, where the arteries connect directly to veins without any capillaries in between are called Arteriovenous Malformations (AVM). Most vascular anomalies are recognized with various imaging modalities. Radiography, ultrasonography (US), CT, or MRI is usually performed to confirm the suspected diagnosis, to determine the extent of the vascular anomaly and to search for associated abnormalities.
Embolization of vascular malformations
Although surgery is sometimes useful, it is usually difficult for surgeons to completely remove vascular malformations, which will return if not removed completely. A nonsurgical method of closing down the blood or lymph flow into the malformation is done by interventional radiologists, who treat patients with image guided procedures. Vascular malformations are treated by embolization, where a small catheter is put into the feeding artery of the malformation and then medical glue, sclerosing agents or small beads are then floated into the malformation until it is full and no longer has blood flowing through it.