Minimally invasive treatment of vascular malformations of the head and neck

The modality used to treat a vascular malformation depends on the affected vessels and regions. The minimally invasive therapies we offer are sclerotherapy (obliteration of the affected vessels by direct puncture) and embolization (occlusion of afferent and draining vessels). Depending on the affected vessels, combined procedures or multiple interventions may be necessary.

Advantages and disadvantages


  • The treatment improves vessel function or cosmetic appearance, depending on which one is impacted by the vascular malformation.
  • Sclerotherapy can be combined with laser therapy and plastic surgery for optimal results.


  • Swelling and minor pain may occur temporarily after treatment. It usually lasts one to seven days. However, serious complications are rare (about 2-3%).
  • The therapy can only be used if the malformation is accessible for percutaneous therapy.

Course of treatment

Treatment starts with the diagnosis and the decision to use minimally invasive methods. After discussing this with you during a consultation, we will schedule a timely appointment, which is in keeping with the urgency of your case and your special wishes.

Minimally invasive endovascular sclerotherapy is usually performed under local anesthesia.

Only a few cases require general anesthesia. The procedure can sometimes be performed on an outpatient basis, i.e. without an overnight stay in the hospital. If that is not possible, treatment will require a hospital stay of one to two days. If anesthesia is not necessary, the procedure will be performed on the same day you enter our clinic. If anesthesia is necessary since we anticipate that the intervention would otherwise be painful, you will arrive the morning before the procedure. We will assess your status, make the final preparations and use this opportunity to answer any questions you might have. On the day of the procedure, you will be taken from the ward to one of our two operating rooms, where the surgical team will meet you and will perform the procedure.


Immediately after the procedure, we will examine you to make sure everything went well. Usually, you will be discharged in the evening of the same day after having consulted with a specialist. During this last consultation, we will schedule appointments for further check-ups.

However, if you are in pain, you can remain at the USZ for another night and receive medication to alleviate it. By the second day, the pain has usually improved substantially.


Hospital stay 1-2 days

For patients

As a patient, you cannot register directly for a consultation. Please get referred by your primary care physician or specialist. If you have any questions, please contact our patient secretariat.

Tel. +41 44 255 56 01
Contact form

For referring physicians

Register your patient for our neurovascular consultation hour through the online form or through an e-mail to the patient secretariat.

Tel. +41 44 255 56 01
Online referral form

Responsible Department