Presentation and management of venous aneurysms

D. L. Gillespie*, J. L. Villavicencio, C. Gallagher, A. Chang, J. K. Hamelink, L. A. Fiala, S. D. O'Donnell, M. R. Jackson, E. Pikoulis, N. M. Rich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

191 Scopus citations


Purpose: Venous aneurysms have been reported to occur in most major veins. These aneurysms may be misdiagnosed as soft tissue masses or as inguinal or femoral hernias. Venous aneurysms of the deep system have been associated with deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). To more precisely characterize these lesions, we reviewed our experience with the disease. Methods: A retrospective analysis of our experience over 22 years was performed. The presentation and management of these lesions were reviewed and compared with the literature. Results: Thirty-nine venous aneurysms were reported in 30 patients. There were 14 men and 16 women. The patients' ages ranged from 3 to 75 years. Thirty aneurysms were located in the lower extremities, four in the upper extremity, and five in the internal jugular vein. Fifty-seven percent of lower extremity aneurysms occurred in the deep system. Patients' symptoms were a mass (75%) associated with pain (67%) and swelling (42%). Thromboembolism occurred in six patients, DVT in three, and PE in three. Eight of nine patients (89%) who had aneurysms of the superficial venous system had their condition misdiagnosed. Diagnosis was made by phlebography (60%), color flow duplex scanning (27%), continuous- wave Doppler scanning (10%), or magnetic resonance imaging (10%). The aneurysm size ranged from 1.7 to 6.0 cm. Management consisted of tangential excision in five (17%), total excision in 23 (77%), and observation in seven (6%). Conclusions: Venous aneurysms are unusual vascular malformations that occur equally between the sexes and are seen at any age. Most patients have a painful mass of the extremity, and diagnosis is achieved by radiologic examination. Superficial venous aneurysms of the inguinal region are often misdiagnosed. Thromboembolism is more common in aneurysms involving the deep venous system. Because of their potential morbidity, management should be surgical in the majority of cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)845-852
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


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