Symptoms — Capillary malformation

  • Chapter: Capillary malformations

    Article: 5 of 14

    Update: Mar 30, 2021

  • Author(s): Ott, Hagen

It is characteristic of isolated, non-syndromal capillary malformations (CM) that subjective symptoms (e.g., pain, heaviness, hyperthermia) or objectifiable symptoms (e.g., relieving posture, bleeding) do not occur.

In combined and syndromal capillary malformations, typical concomitant symptoms and additional complications may cause discomfort during the natural course and are associated with accompanying anomalies.

Despite the absence of somatic symptoms of disease, children affected by capillary malformations are often not symptom-free as far as their parents are concerned. Instead, patients and their families can experience a heavy psychosocial burden, which is mainly influenced by the following factors:

  • Type of CM (e.g., dark red and non-fading capillary malformation or pale, spontaneously fading nevus simplex, CMTC with accompanying atrophy or ulceration)
  • Visible localization on the face, hands, décolleté
  • Reactions of the parents
  • Age of the child

Older children and adolescents are at higher risk of psychosocial stress. Clearly visible centro-facial anomalies, especially in the upper half of the face, and low acceptance of the vascular anomaly by the parents are further risk factors. In this context, however, it should be emphasized that, based on experience, the majority of children with capillary malformations in the facial region also achieve age-appropriate psychosocial development. Nevertheless, every patient with capillary malformation should be actively asked about symptoms of psychological impairment.