The Hadassah Medical Organization has opened a multidisciplinary facility to treat pediatric vascular defects—a first for Israel. Ten percent of infants are born with vascular defects in various areas of the body. Vascular defects can develop while the child is still in utero and resulting symptoms can appear either at birth or later on during a child's adolescent years.
For most of these children, the defect will disappear within seven years; however, some may be left with scarring or aesthetic damage. Although only one percent of children born with vascular deformities need treatment to correct the defects in main arteries and airways, in many cases, the condition is not diagnosed correctly, which can prove life-threatening.
Until now, infants and children were sent abroad for corrective surgery. With the opening of the new center at Hadassah, these children can receive the same quality of treatment in Israel, as specialists from plastic surgery, dermatology, laryngology, diagnostic radiology, angiography, and invasive radiology combine their talents to build a comprehensive treatment plan.
"Today, we have access to minimally invasive measures for effective treatment," relates Dr. Adam Farkas of Hadassah's Vascular and Interventional Radiology Unit. "Early detection is the key, because it allows children to grow and develop well, both physically and socially, and to avoid unnecessary pain and suffering."
One method of treatment closes off the problematic blood vessels via insertion of a catheter through the groin. The area is cauterized until the vein or artery has shrunk to the point of blocking blood flow to the area, thus eventually causing it to disappear. The other treatment method is sclerotherapy, which also shrinks the problematic blood vessel, but with an injection of a special solution.
Dr. Farkas, age 32, who was born and raised in New York, recently immigrated to Israel with his wife and four children. He has a special interest in venous diseases and vascular malformations, for which he underwent specialized training at Boston (MA) Children's Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. He has since brought to Hadassah some of the cutting-edge therapies he learned at Harvard.