Please Read This Case From Bottom To Top

This is my vascular malformation of the hand story.  

Please read from bottom to top if you have interest in the chronological representation of the events of my case.

I hope that my documentation of my case can assist others and provide Dr. Levitin a reference to potential cases similar to mine.

If you have questions, please feel free to email me at djairek at  Enjoy the info!

71 days post Case 1 - 31 Days post Case 2 Pic

Here is a pic after 2.5 months on the first procedure and 31 days after procedure 2.

Feeling good. Looking good. No pain. No problems.

Healing continues.

POST Case #2 - The Healing Continues

It has now been two whole months since Case #1 and 29 days since Case #2.  We’ve had the stitches removed and are taking care of the site.  I’ve started some rehabilitation processes, like squeezing a stress ball to strengthen the weakened muscles from non use for so long.  You’ll want to keep the site very still and immobilized for many weeks after a case on the hand.  Always listen to the doctors orders.  Hands are no body part to mess with. They are very intricate moving parts and you want it to heal right. 

We’re almost there.  There is light at the end of the tunnel.  I still have not pushed myself to do any thing more strenuous than say picking up a tv remote control, or opening a door. I haven’t carried any heavy grocery bags or attempted yet to lift any weights or any type of physical exercise like riding my bike long distances.  We do walk each night 3-4 miles to get my system ready to start revving back up when it’s possible.

Stay Tuned.  More to come.

POST Case 2 Pics on July 4th, 2011

So, Case #2 was scheduled and performed on July 1st, 2011.  All in all the entire procedure went identical to Case #1. All of the comforts of Cedars Sinai were again executed perfectly.  Minus the waiting around for the cases to get into the OR, it was a pleasant experience to say the least.  These things will happen. We never want our doctors to rush on any patient to get to us quicker.  I speaks a lot to their experience and capabilities in the first place. I’ve always felt if you have me waiting in pre op, it means you are giving all the care and diligence to someone else at the moment. Having the tables turned, you then feel comforted that you could be the person holding up the show, and you certainly want the best most careful care.  So, there are a few places you don’t mind if you have to wait a bit.  Hospitals are one of them!

As you can see from the pics below, the surgery site looks great.  Dr.Levitin once again hit it out of the park.  

Here is another one 12 days after the surgery on July 12th, with the stitches just removed.

We put a couple Steri strips on the incision site to keep it nice and clean.  As you can see from the pic, we continue to work on Case #1 site with the laser.  You will see more of that later.

More to come.

POST Case 1 - Few Days after Removed Stitches

As you can see, the stitches have been removed.  The surgery, as I mentioned was on May 19th. I had the stitches removed about 12 days after the surgery. This picture was taken about 5 more days after that. So, roughly 17-20 days after the surgery is what you are looking at. From this pic you can also see Case 2, which is scheduled for July 1st, 2011. 

The hand is still pretty stiff and I’m still not able to type on the keyboard, etc.  Taking a shower was quite the pain in the behind while the bandages were still on, and the wound still a little open. You don’t want to chance getting an infection. I recommend plastic grocery shopping bags to cover the hand while you take a shower. This looks very good at this stage. Down the road in six months, this won’t be very visible.  We’re also continuing the rehab a little to kind of get the hand moving again.  I got one of those gel like stress balls that get at Staples to squeeze gently.

As you can see Dr. Gregory Levitin did a fantastic job.

POST Case 1 Picture with Stitches

Here is a pic of the site about 3 days POST Case 1. As you can see it was healing nicely. Over half of the veinous malformation/vascular malformation was removed.

We’re just keeping it clean, taking the antibiotics, and resting. Dr’s orders!

The Case: Part 1

Apparently in the medical field a surgery i called a “case”. 

May 19th, 2011 came pretty quickly, once we had been through the consultation and the pre operation physical that is mandatory for the surgery.

The night before I couldn’t have anything to eat or drink after midnight, which is par for the course for any surgery that you’ll be undergoing general anesthesia. If you are reading this and have a pending surgery and you have the option to do general anesthesia vs. staying awake; go to sleep! It’s so worth it. I had general anesthesia for both of mine and it is great!

I woke up on May 19th at around 9am and got ready for the ride to Cedars Sinai. We arrived at about 11am.  The met me in the lobby of the hospital and escorted me back to the administrative, check in area. They created an account for me at the hospital, gave me my little hospital wristband, and off I went to the 3rd floor ambulatory surgery center.

Dr. Levitin came to see us for a few minutes and shortly after that, they called me into the pre operation area to be prepped. I’m not a fan of hospitals or medical procedures, so my anxiety was a little piqued. The people who work at Cedars Sinai are awesome. Three or four different people asked me the same questions, three different times in 15 minutes. I guess they really like to make sure these days that they’re going to operate on the right person.

I was given a bag to put my clothes in, and when I was done the anesthesiologist showed up and asked me the same questions the other 3 people did, and some more. By this time, Dr. Levitin came in to sign me, and off we went to the operating room. I had a fresh cocktail of ”relax dude” running through my veins thanks to that nice anesthesiologist. I was feeling no pain, and VERY relaxed. 

We arrived in the operating room and they transferred me to the operating table. Whatever they had given me didn’t allow me to be freaked out at all. I was calm, cool, and collected.  A pleasant mindset even. I looked up at the operating table lights and I was gone. Completely out! 

I woke up in the recovery room sometime later with all of the nice people who had worked on me standing at the foot of my bed. It was warm. I was very comfortable, and I was in no pain. The nurse who stayed with me was very nice to me and took care of anything I needed.  I didn’t even get sick OR throw up, which used to be a real problem with anesthesia.

After they were sure I was ok, they moved me to another floor for another hour until I completely came out of the anesthesia, so I could go home.

As you can see from this pic, I was still pretty doped up, but I felt great.

All in all, it was a long day. We got to the hospital at 11am. The Case started at around 3pm. It lasted about 2.5 hours. And we left the hospital about 730pm that night.

Half of my problems were solved. The next 5 weeks would prepare me for the second case. I spent my time healing, and taking care of the surgery site. We even used a mitochondria laser on the hand to keep all the cells active and aid in the healing and reduction of the potential scaring.

More on that later.

The Consulation

In April of 2011, my girlfriend and I went to visit Dr. Levitin at Cedars Sinai for my consultation. He was very nice, very caring, and very sure of what he was looking at. I brought with me the MRI that Dr. Levitin had ordered. I elected to undergo the MRI without contrast because of the potential side effects that I feared from gadolinium. When you have an MRI, you have to make those decisions for yourself, with your doctors guidance. In my particular case the contrast was not required. If your doctor requires definitely follow his instructions.

Meet Dr. Gregory Levitin

The doctor gave me a thorough evaluation of the case site and decided to do the procedure in two different surgeries. I did not understand why then, but after the fact I now understand why that was necessary. 

My case was set for surgery on May 19th, 2011.

My Venous Malformation Of The Hand Story

My name is Eric H. i am 40 years old, and I live in the Malibu area of California. 

I was born with a venous malformation/vascular malformation on my left hand.

As you can see they were fairly unsightly, and quite honestly a real pain to live with, both physically and mentally. 

Throughout my childhood and teen years I would always notice them and have to be careful with banging them into things, especially in cold weather, which due to the skin constricting, always made them more painful.

Upon graduation, I entered the USAF and surprisingly the doctors who gave me my physical did not notice. The room must have been warm. I would find myself in the situation of “nursing” or “taking caution” with the hand in several situations. I was an avid motorcross rider, and very physically active. In some way, the hand always limited my activity but I dealt with it. I apparently had a high tolerance for discomfort.

My predicament continued after my military discharge, and up until recently I just kind of ignored the discomfort and need to baby the site of the malformation until recently.

Throughout the years, I’ve been to general practitioners and a few “specialists” here and there take a look at it, and was surprised that many of them really had no idea what they were looking at. I heard everything from “varicose veins” to “tumors” to “hemangioma”. What I was dealing with was none of the above.

In April of 2010, I had enough.  My condition was affecting my life to point where I was making decisions on what I could and could not do based on the hand being able to take it. I began to search for a doctor to finally do something about it. I knew I wanted someone who truly “specializes” in what I was up against. 

Via the power of Google, and some targeted, specific search queries, I kept coming up with the same search result. A lot of links pointed to the same place for the searches I was doing. That place was the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation. Specifically the forum on the site, located here. It was there that I saw the name of Dr. Gregory Levitin.  

I opened up a dialogue with Dr. Levitin in April of 2010. I was immediately impressed that he was so responsive to me. He was upfront, thorough, and projected the confidence, knowledge, and understanding of my condition. We talked for a few months off and on via email. I lost contact for a few months because I had severe “hopitalitis”. Yes, I don’t like medical procedures one bit.

I eventually braved up and decided that this was affecting my life, and causing me more pain and suffering than the fear of handling the situation. I recontacted Dr. Levitin.  

In February of 2011 we scheduled a consultation at Cedars Sinai in Beverly Hills between one of his other cases. Dr Levitin is from New York, but he frequently handles cases on the west coast, and maintains a practice in California.

And so my journey began. 

Here are some pictures of the left hand with the Venous Malformation/Vascular Malformations BEFORE the surgery. They were uncomfortable, unsightly, and restricted many parts of my lifestyle and physical activity.