Percutaneous MR Imaging–Guided Laser Ablation for the Treatment of Symptomatic Cervicofacial Vascular Malformations

Matthew Robert Augustine, Scott Thompson, Garret Powell, Erica Knavel-Koepsel, Daniel Adamo, Emily Bendel, Katelyn Anderson, Haraldur Bjarnason, Megha Tollefson, David A. Woodrum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To evaluate the safety and effectiveness of percutaneous magnetic resonance (MR) imaging–guided laser ablation for the treatment of symptomatic soft tissue vascular malformations (VMs) in the face and neck. Materials and Methods: An institutional review board–approved retrospective review was undertaken of all consecutive patients who underwent MR imaging–guided and monitored laser ablation for treatment of symptomatic, cervicofacial soft tissue VM. Preablation and postablation MR imaging findings were independently reviewed. Preablation and postablation VM sizes were documented. Preablation T2 signal characteristics and enhancement patterns as well as postablation change in both signal and enhancement were semiquantitatively assessed. Changes in VM size were compared using a paired t test. Results: Thirteen patients (women, 9; age, 14.5–69.5 years) with 13 VMs were treated for moderate-to-severe pain (n = 4), swelling/mass effect (n = 8), or predominantly cosmesis (n = 1) with 22 total ablation sessions. The baseline maximum VM diameter was 5.7 cm ± 4.2. At baseline, all VMs (100%) demonstrated variable T2-weighted signal hyperintensity and enhancement. For painful VM, the baseline pain score was 8 ± 1. Clinical follow-up was available for 10 patients. Of patients with available follow-up, 3 (100%) treated for moderate-to-severe pain and 7 (100%) treated for swelling/mass effect reported subjective complete or partial symptomatic relief. The patient treated predominantly for cosmetic reasons was lost to follow-up. Two patients (15.4%) experienced minor adverse events by the Society of Interventional Radiology standards. There were no major adverse events. Conclusions: MR imaging–guided and monitored percutaneous laser ablation is safe and effective for the treatment of symptomatic, cervicofacial VMs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-204
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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