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Percutaneous sclerotherapy with ethanolamine oleate for venous malformations of the head and neck
  1. Matthew David Alexander1,
  2. Ryan A McTaggart2,
  3. Omar A Choudhri2,
  4. Mary L Marcellus2,
  5. Huy M Do2
  1. 1Department of Radiology, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, San Jose, California, USA
  2. 2Departments of Radiology and Neurosurgery, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr H M Do, Departments of Radiology and Neurosurgery, Stanford University Medical Center, 300 Pasteur Dr, S047 MC 5105, Stanford, CA 94305, USA; huymdo{at}


Introduction Venous malformations frequently occur in the head and neck, and they can require treatment for a variety of reasons. Among multiple therapeutic approaches employed, percutaneous sclerotherapy has become one of the most commonly used treatments, with numerous sclerosants successfully utilized. Ethanolamine oleate has approval from the Food and Drug Administration for sclerosis of esophageal varices, and is used by some practitioners for the treatment of venous malformations. This study reports single center results of percutaneous sclerotherapy with ethanolamine oleate to treat venous malformations of the head and neck.

Materials and methods Prospectively maintained procedural records were retrospectively reviewed to identify all patients with venous malformations who underwent percutaneous sclerotherapy. The Mulliken and Glowacki classification was used to diagnose venous malformations. Medical records and images were reviewed to record demographic information, lesion characteristics, treatment sessions, and clinical and imaging response. Quantitative volumetric analysis was conducted to augment commonly used poorly reproducible subjective outcome measures. Response was assessed after each session and completion of all percutaneous treatment. A χ2 analysis was performed to evaluate the effects of the above described characteristics on outcomes.

Results 52 interventions were performed for lesions in 26 patients. No complications occurred following any procedures. Response to individual sessions was categorized as excellent following two (3.8%) sessions, good following 45 (86.5%), and fair following four (7.7%) session. No sessions resulted in poor responses. Final results were excellent in two patients (7.7%), good in 22 (84.6%), and fair in two (7.7%). Average lesion volume reduction was 39% following each session, and 61% after treatment completion. Periorbital lesions were significantly less likely than lesions located elsewhere to have good or excellent outcomes. No other lesion or demographic features affected outcomes.

Conclusions Percutaneous sclerotherapy with ethanolamine oleate appears to be safe and effective for the treatment of venous malformations and should be considered when treating these complex lesions. The efficacy of this agent appears to match or exceed that of other sclerosants used for such treatment, and further investigation in prospective controlled research is warranted.

  • Vascular Malformation
  • Technique

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