Vascular Malformation Sclerotherapy/ Embolization

Specialized Radiologists:

Specialized Radiologists:

Brian Christenson
Brian Christenson, MD

To call us during business office hours
Office Number: 406-237-5490

human vascular system

What are vascular malformations?

Vascular malformations are blood vessels that did not develop normally before birth. The abnormally developed vessels can be arteries or veins; they may even include lymph vessels. Even though these abnormal vessels are present at birth, you may not know you have them until later in life.

What are the symptoms?
Venous malformations (abnormal veins) can cause pain, swelling, or changes in skin color. They can also bleed or leak fluids. Arterial malformations (abnormal arteries) can cause pain and bleeding. They can also keep blood from flowing properly.

How are venous malformations treated?
Venous malformations are usually treated with a solution called a sclerosant. A small flexible tube is placed into the abnormal blood vessel. Dr. Christenson will use specialized imaging to place the tube and deliver the solution. The solution causes irritation in the blood vessel walls causing the vessel to scar. The scared keeps blood from entering the abnormal vessel.

This procedure should stop symptoms of pain, swelling, skin color changes, changes in the size of the blood vessel and bleeding. Normal blood vessels are not affected by this procedure.

The procedure may need to be repeated. The goal is to get rid of or lessen your symptoms. Once your symptoms go away, your treatment will stop. Typically we wait 6 weeks between treatments.

How are arterial malformations treated?
Arterial malformations are usually treated with small beads or a special kind of glue. A small flexible tube is placed in the abnormal artery. The abnormal artery is then filled with the beads or glue until it is full. The beads/glue keep blood from flowing through the abnormal vessel. Dr. Christenson will use specialized imaging to place the tube and deliver the solution.The procedure should stop symptoms of pain and bleeding. Normal vessels are not affected by this procedure.

What happens after treatment of my venous malformation?
Venous malformations can be come swollen and red after treatment. This discomfort can last up to 2 weeks after your procedure. We recommend you try ice packs and medications like Tylenol, Motrin, or Aleve to relieve the pain. We also recommend you avoid prolonged exposure to heat and or sun. If you need to be in the sun make sure to apply plenty of sunscreen.

What happens after treatment of my arterial malformation?
Venous malformations can be come swollen and red after treatment. This discomfort can last up to 2 weeks after your procedure. We recommend you try ice packs and medications like Tylenol, Motrin, or Aleve to relieve the pain. We also recommend you avoid prolonged exposure to heat and or sun. If you need to be in the sun make sure to apply plenty of sunscreen.

Getting Ready for Treatment of Your Vascular Malformation

  • We will contact you the day before your procedure to review important instructions and answer any questions you may have.
  • It is important that we know if you have ever had a reaction to contrast (x-ray dye).
  • If you take blood-thinning medicines like Coumadin, Lovenox, or Plavix, we may ask you to stop taking those medicines 3 to 9 days before your procedure. We will give you instructions on this.

Preparing for Tumor Cryotherapy

  • Do not eat or drink starting at 10 pm the day before your procedure.
  • Take all of your medicines on the day of your procedure. Do NOT skip them unless we instruct you do to so.
  • Bring a list of all of your medicines with you to Surgery Plus.
  • If there is a delay in getting your procedure started it is usually because we need to treat other people with unexpected or emergency problems. Thank you for your patience if this occurs.
  • A nurse will give you a hospital gown to put on and a bag for your belongings. Please do not bring valuable items with you.
  • An intravenous (IV) line will be started. You will be given fluids and medicine through the IV
  • Dr. Christenson will talk with you about the procedure and ask you to sign a consent form if that has not already been done. You may ask any questions you have at any time.

What happens after the procedure?

  • After your procedure you will be taken to Surgery Plus where the nurses will monitor your vital signs.
  • When you are fully awake, able to eat, use the restroom and walk, you will be able to go home.
  • Before you leave the hospital, your nurse will tell you what activities you can do, how to take care of your incision, and other important instructions.

Activity

  • You may shower or bathe as soon as you wish after your procedure.
  • Avoid strenuous activity including heavy lifting (anything over 20 lbs) for 3 days after your procedure.
  • Most people can return to their normal activities within 1 week.