Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Hemangioma is cluster of extra blood vessels. It is a benign (non-cancerous) growth. It is also known as vascular tumor. Though there is no certain cause as to why these hemangiomas develop, many theories say that they are congenital, which means people are born with them.

Hemangiomas, as said earlier are a cluster of blood vessels. But, the reason as to why these blood vessels group like that at certain place is not yet known.

Types of Hemangioma-

The hemangiomas are of many types, though many new types keep being added to the classification. One classification goes as infantile hemangiomas and congenital hemangiomas. Infantile hemangiomas are not present at birth and usually develop in the later weeks of life. Congenital hemangiomas, as the name suggests are present by birth.

Another classification is about the location. There are superficial hemangiomas, deep hemangiomas and mixed hemangiomas. Superficial ones occur bright red in color, while the deeper ones are more purple in color and they usually appear like spongy masses. The mixed ones may have characteristics of both these. Some hemangiomas go away quickly, some others go away a little slowly and yet others refuse to go away totally.

Hemangiomas usually occur on the skin. They are more frequently seen on the skin of face, neck chest or back, but can occur anywhere on the body. Besides the skin, another common site for hemangiomas to develop is the liver. When on the liver, it is known as liver hemangioma or hepatic hemangioma.

Liver Hemangiomas

Liver hemangioma is a benign growth of blood vessels in the liver. These are extra blood vessels that group together to form a bunch. These growths are non-cancerous. They are also known as cavernous hemangiomas.

Liver hemangiomas are generally very small in size. In very rare cases they may grow very large. But until then, they cause no symptoms as such. Only if it grows very large, so that it causes a burden on that particular organ, or it hinders the functioning of that organ in any way, then they need to be removed from the body.

What Is The Diagnosis For Liver Hemangioma?

What Is The Diagnosis For Liver Hemangioma?

Most of the cases of liver hemangioma are diagnosed while doing screening tests for some totally different reasons. This is because, usually liver hemangiomas are quite non-symptomatic and of negligible consequence. If your doctor doubts the presence of a mass or growth on your liver, he may refer you to a hepatologist or a gastroenterologist.

Diagnosis is usually made through imaging tests and procedures like USG, CT scan or MRI.

Even if a liver hemangioma is diagnosed, it is not necessary that it will require a treatment or a procedure. As said earlier, it is quite possible that a person may be having a hemangioma, but may be asymptomatic. Hence, there is no need to remove such hemangiomas if they do not produce any symptoms at all and are generally of no consequence to the body. If the doctors feel the need of removing the hemangioma, then they may suggest a surgery to extract it, if it is possible to separate the hemangioma from the liver without causing any damage to the liver. If not, then in rare cases, a part of the liver may be needed to be removed along with the hemangioma though this happens very rarely. In some other instances, the surgeon may opt for tying up the main artery that supplies blood to the liver. If the hemangioma won’t receive any blood, it will eventually stop growing, and will also start reducing in size and over period will disappear totally. In few cases radiation therapy may be chosen, but that is usually only when other liver hemangioma treatment options fail to give results, as safer ways than radiation therapy are available now. The liver hemangioma treatment will depend upon the site, the size and the growth rate of the liver hemangioma.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: September 19, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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