Vascular Anomalies Treatment Group

The Vascular Birthmark Treatment Center was established at Children's of Alabama for the multi-disciplinary management of children with congenital vascular lesions. The patient's individual situation and location of their lesion is taken into account and medical and/or surgical therapy is initiated if necessary. Even in cases where no treatment is advised, a discussion of therapeutic options and their pros and cons can be helpful for parents.

Congenital vascular lesions in children fall into two primary categories:

  1. Hemangiomas
  2. Vascular Malformations
    • Typically very small or unnoticeable at birth
    • Typically present at birth
    • Rapid growth within first few months of life
    • Do not go through rapid growth
    • May completely involute within five to ten years
    • Will not involute with time
    • Significant percentage will not go away with time
    • Class example is port-wine stain
    • 10-50 percent may be replaced with normal tissue causing significant cosmetic or functional problems

In the past, the mainstay of therapy was a "watch-and-wait" attitude, anticipating eventual involution. For those lesions that did not involute, treatment consisted of steroid therapy or surgical excision. Recently, new laser technology has allowed treatment at an earlier stage of the disease process. The tunable pulse-dye laser, acquired this year by Children's, selectively destroys the abnormal hemangioma tissue but does not significantly effect surrounding normal tissue.

Why treat vascular lesions if involution occurs?
Complications related to functional impairment may occur in either of these lesions, and problems (e.g., ulceration, infection and bleeding) may appear in hemangiomas going through a rapid proliferative phase. Because involution occurs very slowly, the emotional impact on the family, particularly in an infant with a facial hemangioma, can be great even when a good prognosis is predicted.

In the center, the patients' individual situation and the location of his or her lesion is taken into account and medical and/or surgical therapy is initiated if necessary. Even in cases where no treatment is advised, a discussion of therapeutic options and their pros and cons can be helpful for parents.

Phone: 205-638-4949
Email: vatg@childrensal.org

Locations:
Children's of Alabama Clinic 4
1600 7th Avenue South Birmingham, AL 35233

Children's South Pediatric Outpatient Center (near I-459 and Acton Road)
1940 Elmer J. Bissell Road Birmingham, AL 35243

Office Hours: Weekdays, 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.