Congenital peripheral vascular malformations are typically abnormalities that you are born with, they may present in childhood or in your early adult years. They are essentially a group of connections between the arterial and venous system. These connections result in abnormal blood flow that might present as discolouration of the skin or swelling.
Traumatic vascular malformations or fistulas are connections between the artery and the vein that occur as a result of an injury. It is also possible that during elective or emergency surgery that an arteriovenous fistula can be caused.
Often ultrasound will be just one of the imaging modalities used to look at your vascular malformation. It is non-invasive, there is no radiation and it is painless. Ultrasound is able to image the lesion and see the blood flow in real time. Your surgeon will ask the sonographer to identify where the connections between the artery and the vein are as well as determine the type of flow within the lesion.
As the sonographer will need to see the site of the vascular malformation you will need to remove the appropriate clothing. The clothing that has to be removed will depend entirely on where the lesion is located.
The sonographer will use gel and a transducer to map the area of the lesion. They will check the type of flow that is present and will try to identify where the connections are and how large they are. The sonographer will do a report for your doctor and ensure that they have all the information required. The ultrasound scan will usually take around 15-30 minutes however this can vary depending on how complex the lesion is.