Capillary malformations are dilatations of capillaries. These lesions are persistent and are commonly located in the head and neck region, but may occur anywhere on the body. Later in life, these lesions become thicker and verrucous-appearing. Segmental capillary malformations involving the first branch of the trigeminal nerve, which innervates the upper eyelid can have underlying ocular and brain anomalies. Capillary malformations involving the 1st branch of the trigeminal nerve with underlying ocular and brain anomalies is called Sturge-Weber syndrome. Infants with Sturge-Weber syndrome can have overgrowth of the tissues of the involved side.
Capillary malformations almost always represent isolated lesions. Rarely, they may be a marker for an underlying arteriovenous malformation. If there is increased warmth, a palpable thrill, or a bruit, then the infant should be evaluated for an associated underlying AV malformation. In some infants, the AV malformation is large enough to cause cardiovascular distress, leading to high output cardiac failure.
Capillary malformations located in the mid-line, especially the lumbosacral region can be associated with occult spina bifida and/or tethered spinal cord.
Capillary malformations can be treated successful with a pulse-dye laser early childhood.