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Publication Detail
Incidence of major complications from embolo-sclerotherapy of head and neck vascular malformations in a single specialist centre
Abstract
Objective Current data on the nature and rate of major complications for embolo-sclerotherapy (EST) of vascular malformations are scarce. However, even fewer studies focus on vascular malformations specific to the head and neck, which confer an increased specific risk of airway compromise, neurologic and ophthalmologic injury. More understanding is required surrounding the type and incidence of complications to improve treatment planning and informed consent. Therefore, this study aimed to review major complications secondary to EST of head and neck vascular malformations over a 5-year period in a single specialized multidisciplinary centre for vascular anomalies. Methods All interventions were decided by the multidisciplinary team. Demographic, procedural and complication data between 1st January 2013 and 31st December 2017 were prospectively documented in a dedicated database and analysed. EST of high-flow vascular malformations (HFVMs) was performed by selective catheter angiography or direct injection, and by direct injection only for low-flow vascular malformations (LFVMs). Major complications were defined as any tissue or functional damage caused by direct injection, distal embolization or tissue reaction and were decided by the multidisciplinary team. Results Forty-eight patients (median age of 35 years; range of 14–70 years; 18 men and 30 women) had 100 EST procedures for head and neck vascular malformation. Of these, 14 patients had EST for HFVM and 34 patients for LFVM, total 43 and 57 procedures, respectively. Overall, five patients with HFVM developed major complications from EST when compared with two patients with LFVM ( p = 0.0167). Two patients required pre-emptive tracheostomy due to risk of post-operative airway compromise. Overall, seven (14.6%) patients experienced major complication from EST. In the HFVM group, major complications from EST occurred in five patients; four cases of tissue ulceration and necrosis (two needed debridement, one healed with resultant fibrosis that impeded speech and one resolved spontaneously) and one post-procedural airway compromise requiring tracheostomy. Meanwhile, in the LFVM group, major complications occurred in two patients; one case of severe necrosis involving the alar cartilage, lip and cheek requiring debridement and reconstruction under plastics and one simple cellulitis. No patients sustained stroke or vision impairment. Conclusions EST is relatively safe for head and neck vascular malformations in a high-volume experienced centre. Our major complication rate of 14.6% per patient (35.7% for HFVM; 5.9% for LFVM) or 7% per procedure (11.6% for HFVM; 3.5% LFVM) compares favourably with published data from other centres. These data will improve treatment planning and informed consent for EST for both HFVM and LFVM of the head and neck.
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Div of Surgery & Interventional Sci
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Department of Surgical Biotechnology
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