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Eur J Radiol. 2010 Jul;75(1):2-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2010.04.009. Epub 2010 May 13.

Current concepts in the classification, diagnosis and treatment of vascular anomalies.

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  • 1Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology, Radiological Clinic, University Hospital Tübingen, Hoppe-Seyler-Strasse 3, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.


Patients with extended vascular anomalies may suffer from significant aesthetic and functional impairment and represent a challenge to therapeutic planning, which is best met by an interdisciplinary concept. In agreement with the International Society for the Study of Vascular Anomalies (ISSVA), vascular lesions are classified into haemangiomas as proliferating endothelial tumours on the one hand and congenital vascular malformations on the other. According to the preponderant vascular channels and hemodynamic characteristics, malformations are subdivided into low flow (venous, lymphatic and capillary) lesions and high-flow malformations. Diagnostic imaging should be targeted at the specific structural and functional informations required for treatment planning. The imaging modality of choice to provide these informations is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) supplemented by magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) with high spatial and temporal resolution. Treatment indications for haemangiomas depend on the proliferative behaviour of the lesion and comprise beta-blockers in order to induce involution as well as cryotherapy, laser and open surgery. Interventional radiological procedures have evolved as an essential element in an interdisciplinary treatment plan for vascular malformations and include percutaneous sclerotherapy with ethanol and OK-432 for venous and lymphatic malformations and transarterial embolization for high-flow lesions.

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