Vascular malformations

Vascular malformations generally are less complex than hemangiomas. Unlike hemangiomas, vascular malformations usually are visible at birth, are permanent and do not grow on their own but only as the child grows. Often they are called salmon patches, stork bites, angel kisses, port-wine stain, venous malformations and lymphatic malformations.

Transient macular stains (stork bites, salmon patches, angel kisses)

Transient macular stains are the most common birthmark, affecting up to 70 percent of newborns. They usually are found on the nape of the neck, the eyelids, the forehead and, less commonly, the upper lip. Some fade by age 1, but those on the neck are more persistent, affecting up to 25 percent of the adult population.

Port-wine stain (capillary malformations)

Port-wine stains are malformations of the superficial capillaries of the skin, so the term capillary malformation is more accurate. Capillary malformations are present at birth. They may be only a few millimeters in diameter or may cover large areas of the body–up to half the body surface. But facial lesions are the most common. Lesions are pink-red in color. With time they darken to a purple or "port wine" color and may develop a pebbly or slightly thickened surface. Currently, the most successful treatment is laser surgery, which usually is quite effective in fading these lesions. Rarely, capillary malformations are clues to the presence of other defects such as Sturge-Weber syndrome or Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome .

Venous malformations

Venous malformations are soft, blue compressible plaques and nodules that may occur on any skin surface. They usually appear at birth and grow slowly. Venous malformations may be very small and of little concern or very large. Large lesions can be disfiguring and may be complicated by thrombosis (clotting), infection and edema of surrounding tissue.

Lymphatic malformations

Lymphatic malformations (lymphangiomas) are composed of dilated lymph channels that are lined by normal lymphatic endothelium. They may be superficial or deep and often are associated with anomalies of the regional lymphatic vessels. The term lymphangioma circumscriptum is used to describe the most common type of lymphatic malformation and may be present at birth or appear in early childhood. These lesions usually are red to purple and 2 to 5 mm in size. They have gel-like papules clustered on a red to brown patch.
Cystic hygroma is a noncancerous mass of tumors that is present from birth. It usually is found on the neck. Since the tumors tend to increase in size, plastic surgery is the preferred treatment.

Contact us

Contact Birthmarks and Vascular Anomalies Program by email, postal mail, or phone:

(414) 266-3727