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Sclerotherapy is a nonsurgical minimally invasive treatment option for certain types of vascular malformations. Common vascular malformations which are treated by sclerotherapy include venous and lymphatic malformations. Your child's doctor at Children's National Hospital will inject a liquid medication into the malformation under imaging guidance while your child is asleep under anesthesia. The medication causes inflammation and then, in few weeks, shrinking of the area due to scarring inside the malformation. Sometimes malformations become enlarged again over time and may require repeat sclerotherapy.
While your child is under general anesthesia, your interventional radiologist will insert a small needle into the malformation under direct ultrasound visualization. Next, your child's physician may inject X-ray dye (contrast) under fluoroscopy followed by liquid medication (sclerosant) injection into the malformation. Depending on the size of the malformation, sclerosant may be injected into several sites to ensure that the entire area is adequately treated.
No. The procedure will be performed with general anesthesia.
Approximately one to two hours.
Sclerotherapy is considered a low-risk procedure. Potential complications although rare, may include:
- Skin blistering or ulceration
- Bleeding or infection
- Allergic reaction to X-ray dye or sclerosant
- Nerve damage
The areas that were injected will become swollen and tender and may bruise. These effects usually last from one to two weeks. Your child may need over-the-counter pain medications like Tylenol and Motrin for a few days. We will prescribe stronger pain medicine and steroids if necessary.
You may remove the bandage after 24 hours. In the rare instance when a drainage catheter was placed for a lymphatic malformation, dressing care will be performed by the Interventional Radiology team during a subsequent short interval visit to the hospital.
Your child may shower or take a bath after 24-48 hours. However, if a drainage catheter was placed, then the dressing at the site must remain dry and your child may only take sponge baths until the catheter is removed.
We will discuss restrictions with you based on your child's circumstances. Generally, your child may resume normal activity as soon as they feel comfortable doing so. Crutches might be required if the procedure was performed on the foot. If compression stockings were worn prior to treatment, your child may resume wearing them in 24 hours.
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Interventional Radiology at Children's National Hospital
Our pediatric interventional radiologists perform a full range of minimally invasive, image-guided procedures to both diagnose and treat disease in infants, children and adolescents. Discover more about the treatment we offer.
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Children’s National interventional radiologists perform a full range of minimally invasive, image-guided procedures to both diagnose and treat disease in infants, children, and adolescents.