Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome: The risks and benefits of vascular interventions

P. Gloviczki, A. W. Stanson, G. B. Stickler, C. M. Johnson, B. J. Toomey, N. B. Meland, T. W. Rooke, K. J. Cherry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


Our experience with Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome (KTS), a rare congenital malformation, has increased considerably in recent years and now includes 144 patients (65 male and 79 female patients). Hemangioma was present in 137 patients (95.1%), varicosity in 110 (76.4%), and hypertrophy of the soft tissues or bones in 134 (93.1%). In most patients (71.5%) the disease involved one lower extremity. Diagnostic workup included roentgenogram to document limb length discrepancy, noninvasive arterial and venous evaluation, contrast venography, and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging. Most patients did well without treatment or with elastic compression only. Surgical treatment for the vascular malformation in KTS is rarely needed and it continues to be controversial. To evaluate the risks and benefits of vascular interventions, we examined in detail the clinical histories of nine patients who in the last decade underwent operation for a vascular malformation of the lower extremity. In seven patients we removed varicose veins or resected hemangioma of the lower extremity. Although none was cured, all five who underwent resection of varicose veins and one of the two patients who underwent resection of a hemangioma improved. Two additional patients, however, who underwent resection of varicose veins in another institution had worsening of the symptoms. In one patient we performed deep venous reconstruction for atresia of the superficial femoral vein, using the contralateral saphenous vein. Such operation in KTS has not been reported previously. The patient has a patent graft with a competent valve and clinical improvement 6 months after the operation. Although patients with severe chronic venous insufficiency, disturbing cosmetic appearance, or complications of hemangioma may benefit from surgical treatment, detailed preoperative imaging of the extremity and pelvis with magnetic resonance imaging and contrast venography is needed to decrease complications. Rarely, reconstruction for atresia or hypoplasia of the deep veins may be needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-479
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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