[Skip to Content]

Venous Malformations

What Is a Venous Malformation?

A venous malformation (VM) is a place in the body where veins haven't grown the right way. Veins in a VM tend to be larger and more tangled than normal veins. A VM in the skin usually looks like a maroon, blue, or purple spot.

Kids who have VMs are born with them. A VM might not be visible until later when it has gotten bigger or its veins have stretched. A VM grows as a child grows and may also grow in response to injury or partial removal.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of a Venous Malformation?

Kids with VMs may have these symptoms:

What Causes Venous Malformations?

Venous malformations are the most common of all of the vascular malformations (also called vascular anomalies). These are problems that happen when blood vessels (capillaries, arteries, veins, or lymphatic vessels) don't develop as they should.

Most VMs have no clear cause, but some are due to genetic problems and may run in families.

Some rare genetic conditions that include VMs are:

How Is a Venous Malformation Diagnosed?

A VM is usually diagnosed based on a child's health history, pictures and imaging of the VM, and an examination.

To learn more about how the VM is attached to other blood vessels and to see if internal organs are affected, the doctor may order these imaging tests:

How Is a Venous Malformation Treated?

VMs can be very difficult to treat and often grow back after removal. So a VM is usually treated only if it:

Evaluation by a vascular anomaly specialist is recommended for VMs in sensitive areas such as the face, neck, hands, or feet or when VMs affect internal organs.

VM treatment may include doctors from several different specialties and include:

Looking Ahead

VMs tend to get bigger as a child grows. Regular follow-up with your doctor is important.

Research is ongoing for both the treatment of VMs and the prevention of regrowth after treatment. New medicines and genetic research for VMs and other vascular problems are advancing and new treatments might be available in the next few years.

Date reviewed: November 2017

Note: All information on KidsHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995- The Nemours Foundation. All rights reserved.

Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com