Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Vascular Anomaly?

Vascular anomalies are either abnormal growths or malformations of development of any vascular tissue. Vascular tissue includes all types of blood vessels such as capillaries, arteries and veins, and a parallel "sewer system" called lymphatics. Common vascular anomalies include Hemangiomas (a growth of blood vessels in newborns), Port-Wine Stains (malformations of the capillaries, often on the face or limbs), Venous malformations, and Lymphatic Malformations. There may be mixture of these malformations or associated health issues associated with them, such as the PHACES syndrome, Klippel-Trennauny, or Sturge-Weber. There are many other even more rare vascular growths and malformations. Because most physicians know very little about the evaluation and treatment of these conditions, we formed the Vascular Anomalies Center at Children's Hospital to help accurately diagnose and treat these disorders.

What causes Vascular Anomalies?

The causes for Vascular Anomalies differ, with many being genetic and others having unknown reasons. They rarely are caused by anything you may have done, but instead are just abnormalities of growth and development that just occur by chance.

Who gets Vascular Anomalies

Anyone can get Vascular Anomalies. They are normally present at birth, or develop shortly after. Despite this, they may not become apparent or noticed until months or years later in some cases.

What should parents expect?

Each Vascular Anomaly is different, and many of these conditions are rare, unusual and difficult for most physicians to accurately diagnose and treat properly. That's why we formed the Vascular Anomalies Center at Children's Hospital New Orleans. Our team of experts include specialist in Dermatology and Laser Surgery, ENT, Plastic Surgery, Vascular Surgery , Orthopedic Surgery and Radiology. Our team all share a particular interest and expertise with these conditions. We further utilize specialist in other fields here at Children's Hospital, such as Hematology/Oncology, Opthalmology, Cardiology, Genetics, Physical Therapy or others if needed for a particular condition.

Have your physician refer you or your child to one of our Directors/Core physicians (Dermatology, ENT, Plastic Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery or Vascular Surgery) for an initial evaluation prior to being seen by the entire team. This enable us to ensure a more rapid evaluation and treatment, and to obtain the proper information, labs or studies necessary for our complete teams evaluation.


Proliferating Forehead Hemangioma

Involuting Forehead Hemangioma

Proliferating Cheek Hemangioma

Involuting Cheek Hemangioma

Proliferating Abdominal Trunk Hemangioma

Involuting Abdominal Trunk Hemangioma

What is a "vascular malformation"?

These are another type of birthmark, but are true malformations of arteries, veins, capillaries, or lymphatic vessels. These are present at birth, grow with the child, and do not regress as hemangiomas.

Arterio-Venous Malformation

Venous Malformation

How is the correct diagnosis made?

Early proper diagnosis is required to determine the appropriate treatment options. This requires detailed clinical history and examinations. MRI imaging remains the gold standard radiologic study for diagnostic confirmation.


We offer state of the art radiological imaging services. At the multidisciplinary conference, all available radiological studies are carefully reviewed by a board-certified radiologist to guide us in making the correct diagnosis.

Sagittal Magnetic Resonance Image of AVM

3-D Computed Tomography Reconstruction of AVM
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