Birthmarks, hemangioma and vascular tumorCall for an appointment
Duke specialists use the latest surgical and medical advances to accurately diagnose and successfully treat complex vascular malformations, commonly and often incorrectly called birthmarks, hemangioma, salmon patch, bulky deep lesion, port-wine stain or vascular tumor. Our vascular malformations team creates a custom treatment plan for you based on your individual needs.
Expert diagnosis, coordinated treatment
Vascular malformations are abnormal clusters of blood and/or lymph vessels that form during fetal development. They can be visible on the skin at birth and vary in size, shape, color and location on the body. Other times they are not visible and do not cause symptoms until later in life. Diagnoses often encompass birthmarks, salmon patches or hemangioma, which are abnormal blood vessel lumps. Other malformations include abnormally formed capillaries or benign venous formations or circulatory lesions.
If you have a vascular malformation, you know the frustration of identification and treatment. Obtaining an accurate diagnosis is difficult; comprehensive treatment is hard to find. Our patients often come to us after visiting many physicians with frustrating results. Our team of highly skilled experts can correctly identify your specific condition and quickly create a comprehensive treatment plan. Our experience in a range of treatment options helps us do more than make a diagnosis. We develop a treatment plan customized for you.
Birthmarks, hemangioma and other vascular lesions: Why choose Duke
- Comprehensive team approach. No other hospital in the region has a dedicated vascular malformation team that routinely reviews cases and develops a treatment plan that combines expertise from multiple different specialties. Because vascular malformations can be anywhere on the body, they may require medical or surgical treatment, or another type of intervention. As a result, your team may include vascular surgeons, dermatologists, ear nose and throat specialists, orthopaedists, interventional radiologists, hematologists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, and general surgeons. Our experts undergo advanced training and certification in their specialties, and have the experience to ensure you receive the care and treatment you need.
- International leadership. Members of our team are leading the way in identifying, diagnosing and treating vascular malformations through their work establishing international treatment guidelines. You can be confident that your treatment plan is backed by the latest research.
- Specialized imaging technology. Our technology identifies the type of malformation by providing images of blood flow in affected tissues and the involvement of muscles, bones, and related anatomical structures. One of the key techniques we use is dynamic-contrast enhanced DCE-MRI, which helps to provide accurate diagnoses and permits targeted treatment. Only a few centers in the world use DCE-MRI. Our radiologists created standards for its use in diagnosing these conditions.
- Experts in diagnosis and treatment. Few hospitals in the country have the expertise to recognize vascular malformations. Our experience from hundreds of cases ensures you receive the best treatment available for your condition.
- Correcting common misdiagnoses. We regularly correct problems such as inadequate or incomplete treatment that is associated with the misdiagnosis of vascular formations.
- Commitment to patient convenience. Our expertise in complex cases and powerful imaging technology allows us to make clear, accurate recommendations. Our team of experts designs treatment plans and presents it to you during a single trip to Duke. From there, we make every effort to make your visits for treatment convenient. A dedicated patient representative keeps your family informed during the entire process.
Following initial testing and an expert assessment, we will recommend a customized treatment plan. Our commitment to treatment planning in a single, comprehensive step is a key advantage to the patient. Your treatments may include any one or a combination of the following options.
In some cases, lifestyle modification such as using compression garments or elevating your limbs will be recommended. You may be asked to limit physical activities while the vascular malformation is further assessed or test the benefits of compression therapy by wearing specially designed, tight-fitting hose or sleeve on the affected area.
Small, localized vascular malformations that do not connect to important vessels are the best candidates for surgery. We identify the characteristics of each lesion to assess surgical repair. If surgery is the best option for you, we will bring in a surgeon on the vascular malformation team who is an expert in surgery where the lesion is located.
This non-surgical procedure causes vessel walls to gradually close and stop the flow of blood to the malformation. A tiny needle is used to inject a sclerosing solution, comprised of FDA-approved chemical agents. There are several different formulas available to treat a variety of lesions. Our team is involved in cutting-edge research to use the safest available sclerosing solutions.
Although diagnosis is often a complex process, your malformation may be accurately identified through physical examination. Even malformations below the skin may be recognized during office exams. We can distinguish a birthmark that will disappear eventually from a more serious vascular malformation.
We use one of the few dynamic-contrast enhanced (DCE) MRI scans in the world. The procedure for utilizing this imaging, developed by a Duke radiologist, identifies the type of malformation, the vessels involved, as well as they muscles, bones, and related anatomical structures. This tool greatly improves the opportunity to create a streamlined treatment plan for you.
This non-invasive technique uses sound waves to measure the speed of blood flow in arteries and veins, and shows all the vessels in the area of the malformation. it is most useful for initial assessment and can be performed at an office visit.