Vascular Anomalies


Vascular anomalies are congenital abnormalities of the vascular or lymphatic system. They are benign lesions that present anywhere on the body in the form of vascular birthmarks or masses. They can grow as the child grows. Whether this is a problem depends on the location and the size. It can cause anything as minor as a cosmetic problem to a more serious problem like trouble breathing or swallowing,” says Dr. Huoh.


“If they are vascular birthmarks or masses, they can be diagnosed with a visual inspection or we can also do an ultrasound or MRI to get a better picture,” says Dr. Huoh. “Treatment varies widely depending on the vascular anomaly we are dealing with, ranging from simple observation to medical therapy to surgical removal or non-invasive treatment with an interventional radiologist.”


Laser surgery is a common treatment option as well, says Dr. Huoh. “We treat vascular anomalies if they pose a significant cosmetic issue or if they cause impairment.”

Meet Dr. Huoh - CHOC Pediatric Otolaryngology Specialist

Dr. Kevin Huoh was born with a large lymphatic malformation in his neck and endured over 90 surgeries as a child. His personal experience motivated Dr. Huoh to pursue a career in medicine so he could give back and help treat children with head and neck disorders.

Dr. Huoh completed his general surgery internship and otolaryngology residency at the UC San Francisco Medical Center, and a pediatric otolaryngology fellowship at Stanford University Medical Center. His professional interests include head and neck tumors, vascular anomalies, and surgical therapy for sleep apnea, among other areas.

Dr. Huoh’s philosophy of care: “Caring for children with ear, nose and throat disorders is truly a personal passion of mine. I am committed to care for all my patients and their families with compassion, professionalism and excellence.”

University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine



Birthmarks are areas of discolored and/or raised skin that are apparent at birth or within a few weeks of birth. Birthmarks are made up of malformed pigment cells or blood vessels.

Although the cause of birthmarks is not known, most of them are benign (non-cancerous) and do not require treatment. Babies with birthmarks should be examined and diagnosed by a doctor.

Baby with birth mark holding ball

Infantile Hemangiomas

Mother and infant

Infantile hemangiomas are the most common of benign tumors in children, and most often occur in the head or neck area, a CHOC otolaryngologist says.

Because of their location, these masses can cause trouble breathing, swallowing or speaking, and in some cases can be life-threatening if they cause an airway obstruction, Dr. Kevin Huoh says.

Knowledge is the best medicine. Learn more about your child's health in these features from the experts at CHOC.

Birth Defects
Common birth defects include: heart defects, cleft lip, cleft palate, Down syndrome and spina bifida. Congenital heart defects are the most common in the U.S.

What Parents Need to Know About Cleft Palate Repair
Cleft lip and cleft palate are anomalies of the mouth and lip where the sides of the lip and the roof of the mouth do not fuse together as they should.

Exams at Birth
Moments after a baby is born a brief exam is conducted. The thorough exam checks the baby's head, eyes, ears, mouth, heart and hips.

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