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Diagnosis and Treatment



The physicians and staff of the UW Health Vascular Anomalies Clinic have extensive experience diagnosing and treating birthmarks and vascular anomalies. Our program brings together a treatment team that includes experts in the areas of plastic and reconstructive surgery, dermatology, general surgery, interventional radiology, otolaryngology, heart care, neurosurgery, hematology/oncology, ophthalmology, pathology and radiology. We treat children and adults of all ages.


Together our team will perform a thorough assessment of each patient and put together a personalized treatment plan based on cutting-edge care.




We evaluate each patient and condition individually to determine the optimal treatment strategy. These may include any one or combination of the following:

  • Embolization is a procedure that closes the abnormal blood vessels from the inside using "glues" or particles. 
  • Sclerotherapy helps us decrease the size of vascular anomalies. A substance that irritates the wall of the blood vessel is injected through your skin into the malformation. Inflammation of the inner wall leads to scarring, called sclerosis, which can help to decrease the size or destroy the malformation.
  • Surgery may remove all or part of the vascular anomaly, sometimes performed in conjunction with other treatments such as embolization or sclerotherapy. In addition, surgery may be recommended to reconstruct areas that may be disfigured by the malformation or to correct other functional problems that can occur.
  • Laser relies on light-based therapies to safely treat complex vascular malformations involving certain types of blood vessels.
  • Medical therapy may be recommended. These treatments are guided by an understanding of the mechanism associated with each disorder.
  • Targeted treatment is directed towards the genetic changes in a particular vascular syndrome and is a growing option for treatment as we better understand the genes involved and their mechanisms.
  • Observation may be the best treatment for some disorders.