Humans have in common red blood which changes to a bluish color when it’s used up (deoxygenated) and on its way back to the heart/lung complex. These colors paint anatomical art pieces using a similar color palate, but having a common color palate doesn’t automatically put humans into the same or similar medical classification when our art pieces hint that something isn’t quite right.
Care and treatment is best when it’s based on a sound and accurate diagnosis; something that relies on proper or congruent classification. Below is a comprehensive look at the range of possibilities of diagnosis for vascular anomalies. Some are congenital, some are not. Thinking it best to present the general topologies and then pare these down as we go. A very critical distinction is made right upfront; not all vascular anomalies are the same or even related; many are not related in any way shape or form. It’s wise to see this distinction early on.
On a personal note, I spent many many years diagnosed with Blood Tumors, Hemangiomas. That diagnoses led to improper treatments. In fact for my early years no treatments. My proper diagnosis was down a very different fork in the road. Turns out I have Vascular Malformations and not Vascular Tumors. This experience is one of my major motivations in developing this information portal. I do have a bias. The very common misuse of the term “birthmark” or “port wine stain” to describe the beautifully mosaic presentations many of us have are terms I shy away from. Appearances are all too often deceiving and these labels never properly describe the true underlying condition. Their use is a recipe for disaster.
That said, here is a big picture of how Vascular Anomalies may be classified in your doctor’s books. It’s presented with deep gratitude and credit to the International Society for the Study of Vascular Anomalies [i]. It’s presented strictly for educational, non-profit, non-commercial use. It is by no means the only international standard of classification, but we must start somewhere and this picture is comprehensive yet compartmentalized in a way that we finally had a tool that helped us to differentiate our construction. We’re hoping it will help you.
 Benign Congenital Tumors
 Benign Non-Congenital
 Aggressive or Borderline
 Malignant Vascular Tumors
Simple/Single Vascular Malformations
 Port-Wine Capillary
 Telangiectasia Capillary
 Other Capillary
 Non-Capillary Malformations
Combined Vascular Malformations
 New Topology
 Associated Diagnosis