What to Expect at Your First Appointment at the Hemangioma and Vascular Malformation Center
A vascular anomaly, like a hemangioma or vascular malformation, can range from the straightforward to the complex. Rest assured that the specialized and experienced providers at the Hemangioma and Vascular Malformation Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center can help your child and family find answers and support - no matter their diagnosis.
Patients of all ages - from birth through adulthood - travel to our center from across the country. As one of the largest centers of its kind in North America, we have unmatched experience and unwavering compassion for children, families and adults diagnosed with a hemangioma or vascular malformation.
We take the time to get to know you and your child before you even arrive at our center. We ask for detailed information about past diagnoses, test results, imaging results, symptoms and characteristics of your condition, as well as the goal of your visit. This insight allows us to schedule your child with the exact providers they need to see, and also helps you prepare for what to expect at your appointment.
Learn more about what you can expect to your visit to the Hemangioma and Vascular Malformation Center.
Making an Appointment at the Hemangioma and Vascular Malformation Center
Families can simply contact us directly or have their child's doctor refer them to our center.
Once we receive your request, one of our schedulers will call you back to gather all the information needed to schedule your appointment. This allows us to ensure your child will see the right provider at the clinic. It's also very helpful for our families that travel from out of town to visit our care team.
During that call, our scheduler will review your child's medical history and discuss paperwork you'll receive before we can schedule your child's visit. This includes:
- History. You will be asked about your child's medical history including past diagnoses; any previous imaging performed (MRI, ultrasound, CT, etc); current symptoms; current medications; and any previous treatments.
- Photos. Please send us photos of your child's hemangioma or vascular malformation. This helps us get a better idea of the characteristics of the birthmark or growth, such as symptoms, size, shape, color and location.
- Medical records release. A medical records release will be included in the emailed packet so we can gather any necessary test results or imaging scans from other hospitals or providers.
- HIPPA authorization form. We'll ask you to sign a release if you're over the age of 18 and would like us to share test results or medical information with your parents or another adult.
- Goals for the visit. We want to be sure we're ready to help however you need it. We'll discuss whether you're looking for a surgical consult, medical visit or a second opinion.
Once you've completed and returned all information via email, our doctors will review it. They will then let us know if you're ready to be scheduled for an appointment or if they need additional information.
For families ready to be scheduled, one of our schedulers will call you to coordinate a time that works for your family and the providers your child needs to see. It typically takes about one week to hear back from our team after sending in your completed information.
For our more complex patients, we may need to gather additional details about your child. One of our schedulers or nurses may call you with follow-up questions. We may also discuss what type of appointment is best for your child.
Contact us to schedule an appointment or questions about our services.
On the Day of Your Visit to the Hemangioma and Vascular Malformation Center
Before Your Appointment
Getting ready for your child's appointment is simple: All you need is your insurance card and your child.
We do ask that you arrive about 30 minutes before your child's appointment—15 minutes to park and walk to our clinic (located at main hospital, Burnet Campus, Building A, Level 1) and 15 minutes to check in at our registration desk.
You may notice when you arrive at your appointment that our clinic is in the Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute. Rest assured that your child does not need to see an oncologist (cancer doctor), nor do we suspect they have cancer. This center is simply where our hematologists work. (A hematologist is a specialized doctor who treats blood-related conditions, including hemangiomas and vascular malformations).
Please contact the Hemangioma and Vascular Malformation Center if you are running late.
At Your Appointment
The information you provide before arriving to your appointment helps us tailor the care your child receives to meet their specific needs. Not all appointments look the same, but generally here's what you can expect whether you're coming in for a hemangioma or vascular malformation.
Please expect to be at your appointment for at least two hours, and possibly longer. We'll discuss how long your appointment may be during scheduling. We do offer snacks, drinks and activities to help keep your child entertained and happy while they are here.
Our team may also share research opportunities that are available for your child.
Appointments for Hemangioma
Oftentimes, we can make a hemangioma diagnosis with the information you provided via email - even before seeing your child. Still, it's important we see them in person so that we can carefully evaluate the birthmark and your child's overall health.
You'll meet with our care team that includes a medical or patient care assistant, registered nurse and a hematology provider that specializes in hemangiomas. During the appointment, your child's doctor will:
- Gather vitals (blood pressure, pulse, oxygen levels)
- Review medical history, imaging and test results
- Perform a physical exam
- Visually examine your child's hemangioma
- Answer any questions you may have
- Discuss and additional testing that may be needed (ultrasound, lab work, etc.)
Then, we'll discuss possible treatment plans and, together, pick the best path forward for your child and family.
Appointments for Vascular Malformation
A vascular malformation can sometimes be complex to diagnose and treat. Led by a pediatric hematologist, a team of specialized providers from many disciplines will review your child's information, share insight and evaluate your child during their appointment. Your child's care team may include providers from:
- Pediatric hematology
- Pediatric surgery
- Otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat)
- Plastic surgery
- Human genetics
- Behavioral medicine and clinical psychology
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Social work
During your child's visit, we will:
- Perform a physical exam
- Discuss issues, symptoms and concerns
- Review past medical records, imaging and test results
- Order additional imaging tests (if needed)
- Schedule additional appointments with specialists (if needed)
- Answer questions
- Discuss possible treatment options
Occasionally, you may need to come back to our hospital for additional imaging tests, like an MRI or ultrasound, or to see another provider. We work to limit this as much as possible during your scheduling call. Social work is also available to help connect you with resources during your stay, including accommodations and transportation.
You and your child both have an important voice in care. We want you to feel comfortable and confident that we're moving forward with the best possible plan; one that meets your child's and family's needs.
Before You Leave
Whether you're here for a hemangioma or vascular malformation visit, we know your child's appointment can be long and, sometimes, overwhelming. You'll meet with one of our nurse-care managers before you leave to review your child's care plan and ask any additional questions. This is a great time and space to digest the information you were given and discuss upcoming appointments, tests and anything else you may need to know.
You'll also receive all this information in a printout, called an "After Visit Summary." This offers a quick and easy place to review your child's care plan. Information is also sent through MyChart.
After Your Visit to the Hemangioma and Vascular Malformation Center
One of our schedulers will contact you to schedule any additional appointments you'll have at the Hemangioma and Vascular Malformation Center.
If you have any questions between your child's appointment, please contact us directly.