Characteristics, clinical presentation, and treatment outcomes of venous malformation in the extremities

Hyangkyoung Kim, Jinhyun Joh, Nicos Labropoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The clinical presentation of venous malformations (VMs) is variable and not well documented. The present study was designed to determine the clinical characteristics and outcomes in association with the type and extent of VM in the extremities. Methods: Patients with a diagnosis of a VM using ultrasound, computed tomography, or magnetic resonance imaging were included in the present study. The VM extent and tissue involvement, signs, and symptoms were retrospectively collected. Those with arteriovenous malformations, Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome, lymphedema, and symptoms from other unrelated diseases were excluded. The VMs were classified as extensive or localized according to whether different tissues or the entire compartment was involved. The clinical outcomes and imaging studies were obtained for both the treated patients and those who had chosen to not undergo any intervention. Results: A total of 72 patients, of whom 26 were men, were included in the present study, with a median age of 30 years. The VM had extended into the subfascial space in 40 patients (55.6%). Patients with VM distributed on their leg had mostly experienced pain, which was more evident during physical activity (n = 40; 80.0%), with swelling worsening with prolonged standing (n = 35; 70.0%). For those with VMs in the upper extremities, the most prominent complaints were venous enlargement (n = 10; 45.5%), pain (n = 9; 40.9%), and swelling (n = 11; 50.0%). The symptoms were related to the extent of the lesion (odds ratio, 7.664; 95% confidence interval, 2.006-29.291; P =.003). Treatment was decided by the extent and depth of the lesions. Excision was performed in 15 patients (20.8%), sclerotherapy in 12 (16.7%), sclerotherapy with phlebectomy or coil embolization in 8 (11.1%), and stripping in 2 (2.8%). An excellent result was achieved with the treatment of localized VMs. For those with extensive VMs, the symptom intensity was reduced or controlled after multiple treatments. Conclusions: VMs of the extremities affect patients' quality of life significantly owing their appearance and the resulting pain. The VM extent was associated with symptom severity. The clinical outcomes have been excellent for localized VMs; however, extensive VMs will require multiple treatments to reduce the symptom intensity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-158
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery: Venous and Lymphatic Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Congenital vascular malformation
  • Extremity
  • Venous malformation


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