Treatment for orbital venolymphatic malformations (VLMs) commonly includes 3 major options: sclerotherapy, surgery, and embolization followed by surgical excision. Each has certain advantages, although it is not clear whether all are effective. The authors characterize the clinical course for a series of patients with distensible orbital venous-dominant VLM treated with sclerotherapy and/or embolization with excision.
In this cross-sectional cohort study, patients affected by distensible orbital venous-dominant VLM presenting to the orbital and ophthalmic plastic surgery service from 2014 to 2020 were identified. Patients were included if they presented with a moderate-flow, distensible venous-dominant malformation associated with Valsalva-related symptoms (e.g., pain, proptosis, and diplopia).
Six cases were treated with sclerotherapy. Four underwent multiple treatments, with a mean ± SD of 3.5 ± 2.3 (range 1-7). All patients in this group failed to improve or experienced recurrence of symptoms after sclerotherapy. Twelve cases were treated with embolization and excision. Resolution of symptoms in all 12 cases was noted and maintained for a mean of 3.4 ± 2.1 years. There have been no cases of recurrence. Patients treated with sclerotherapy were more likely to experience recurrence of symptoms compared to those treated with embolization and excision (p < 0.001).
Treatment of distensible venous-dominant moderate-flow orbital VLM with sclerotherapy may provide temporary improvement in some cases. However, in the medium to long term, recurrence was universal in this series. Embolization with excision appears to provide more definitive management, avoiding recurrence in all cases for a mean follow-up of 3 years.

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