What are Glomuvenous Malformations? 

Glomuvenous malformations (GVMs) result from improperly formed veins in the layers of the skin and deeper tissues. GVMs are bluish-purple marks or bumps that are usually confined to the skin but sometimes extend to the deeper layers of fat or muscle. They commonly appear near fingers or toes but are also seen on the inside of the mouth and eyelids and other skin locations.

These malformations vary in size and may enlarge over time. They generally do not affect internal organs. GVMs can be variable in extent, remaining very localized in some cases, and affecting entire limbs in others.

Why Choose Comer Children’s for Care for GVMs?

The vascular anomalies program at Comer Children's offers an integrated and comprehensive approach to the diagnosis, care and management of glomuvenous malformations.

Our multidisciplinary team of pediatric experts works together to educate families and to evaluate and treat children with all types of these vascular lesions.

Meet our pediatric vascular anomalies team

What are the Types of Glomuvenous Malformations?

There are two types of glomuvenous malformations: 

  • Solitary GVMs. Solitary GVMs are more common and often painful.
  • Multiple GVMs. Multiple GVMs account for 10 percent of reported cases and usually develop earlier in life.

Gloumuvenous malformations are hereditary in 65 percent of patients and have been linked to a mutation in the "glomulin" gene.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Glomuvenous Malformations?

Glomuvenous malformations often first appear as bluish-purple marks or bumps that may feel pebble-like to the touch. GVMs generally thicken and develop a deep blue hue over time. The lesions can be painful, especially if pressure is applied to the area, if they are bumped or banged, or if the area is exposed to extreme temperature changes.

How are Glomuvenous Malformations Diagnosed?

While GVMs can be identified by a physical examination, a combination of tests that may include a skin biopsy, imaging studies and blood tests are sometimes required to assess the extent of the lesions.

How are Glomuvenous Malformations Treated?

Treatment for glomuvenous malformations depend on the symptoms caused by the malformation, as well as its size and location. Treatment may include:

  • Surgical removal (excision) of the malformation
  • Laser therapy to shrink the affected blood vessels
  • Sclerotherapy, the injection of a solution directly in the vein, which causes it to collapse and forces the blood to reroute through healthier veins

The vascular anomalies team will recommend the best treatment option for your child's glomuvenous malformation.

How to Care for Glomuvenous Malformations

Daily care for GVMs is usually not needed. However, bumping the area or extreme temperature changes can lead to pain. Applying a cold compress or pain-relieving medications can help manage symptoms. But, if you have any concerns about your child’s lesion, you should contact their care team.

Resources & Support for Patients with Vascular Anomalies

Patient Resources at Comer Children’s

Kids want to feel like kids, even when they're sick. Our Child Life therapists use play, art and other approaches to take some of the scare away from the hospital experience and to help kids feel as normal as possible, in spite of their disease. Located near Comer Children's, the Ronald McDonald House provides a home away from home for families while their child is hospitalized.

Patient Resources & Support Groups

These organizations and support groups may be helpful to families and patients by providing support, education and treatment information on vascular anomalies.