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Types of Vascular Anomalies: Glomuvenous Malformation

Glomuvenous malformations (GVM) result from improperly formed veins in the layers of the skin and deeper tissues. GVMs are bluish-purple marks or bumps that are usually confined to the skin, but sometimes extend to the deeper layers of fat or muscle. They commonly appear near fingers or toes, but are also seen on the inside of the mouth and eyelids and other skin locations. These malformations vary in size and may enlarge over time. They generally do not affect internal organs. GVMs can be variable in extent, remaining very localized in some cases, and affecting entire limbs in others.

There are two types of glomuvenous malformations: solitary and multiple. Solitary GVMs are more common and often painful. Multiple GVMs account for 10 percent of reported cases and usually develop earlier in life. Gloumuvenous malformations are hereditary in 65 percent of patients and have been linked to a mutation in the "glomulin" gene.

Signs and Symptoms

Glomuvenous malformations often first appear as bluish-purple marks or bumps that may feel pebble-like to the touch. GVMs generally thicken and develop a deep blue hue over time. The lesions can be painful, especially if pressure is applied to the area, if they are bumped or banged, or if the area is exposed to extreme temperature changes.

Diagnosis

While GVMs can be identified by a physical examination, a combination of tests that may include a skin biopsy, imaging studies and blood tests are sometimes required to assess the extent of the lesions.

Treatment

Treatment for glomuvenous malformations depends on the symptoms caused by the malformation, as well as its size and location. Treatment may include:

  • Surgical removal (excision) of the malformation
  • Laser therapy to shrink the affected blood vessels
  • Sclerotherapy, the injection of a solution directly in the vein, which causes it to collapse and forces the blood to reroute through healthier veins

The vascular anomalies team will recommend the best treatment option for your child's glomuvenous malformation. 

About Our Program

The Vascular Anomalies Program at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital offers an integrated and comprehensive approach to the diagnosis, care and management of hemangiomas and vascular malformations. Our multidisciplinary team of pediatrics experts works together to educate families and to evaluate and treat children with all types of these vascular lesions. » Read more about our program and our team.

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