Interventional Radiology

Percutaneous Ablation (Sclerotherapy)


Please Note

Percutaneous ablation is also known as "sclerotherapy". We may use these terms interchangeably when discussing the treatment of symptomatic vascular malformations.

Congenital Vascular Malformations (CVM) occur in about 1% of all births and can vary from simple, flat birthmarks to complex, 3-dimensional structures deep within the body. They can be made up of arteries, veins, lymph vessels, or a combination of these. They are usually present at birth, but are unlikely to be passed on from parent to child or for there to be more than one in any given person.

Types of Congenital Vascular Malformations (CVM)

  1. Arterio-Venous Malformation (AVM): Abnormal communication of arteries and veins that is associated with high blood flow. These are considered the most serious type of malformation and can occur anywhere in the body and cause pain, bleeding or strain on the heart. Fortunately, they are the rarest type of malformation.

    Arterial-Venous Malformations

  2. Venous Malformations

    Venous Malformation (VM): These are the most common and often appear as dilated purple veins on the skin that are compressible. Occasionally, a VM will form blood clots and become swollen and painful. When they occur in the legs, they can also cause pain after standing or walking for long periods of time
  3. Lymphatic Malformation (LM): These are also very common, and involve the ducts that carry lymph fluid from the tissues and lymph nodes back to the heart. They often occur in combination with VMs since both have a common embryological origin.

Treatment Options

Treatment of a CVM involves the use of a needle or catheter to inject medical grade alcohol into the malformation to embolize (obstruct) the flow of blood. Embolization can be used to shrink a large CVM to make it easier to be operated on. In some cases, surgery may be avoided altogether. Sometimes the treatment requires several stages to fully eradicate the entire malformation. The specific procedure will depend on the type of CMV you have:

  1. Transcatheter Embolization: AVMs are typically treated by inserting a catheter into the artery that leads to the malformation. Particles, glue, coils, and a variety of agents may be injected to treat an AVM.
  2. Percutaneous Ablation: Venous and lymphatic malformations are generally treated by inserting a needle directly into the malformation and injecting medical grade alcohol or a similar agent into them to get them to shrink down and perhaps go away altogether.

General Information You Need to Know When You Get Home

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