Hemangiomas are extra groups of blood vessels. They are not cancerous and very common in infants and children. They are usually recognized by the name birthmarks or strawberry marks (because of their bright red appearance).
These hemangiomas usually do not present with any bothering symptoms. Only on very rare occasions, they may hamper the general functioning of some organs, for e.g. if present in the ear, they may cause trouble in hearing. Also, they do not cause any symptoms until they grow very large. Also, very rarely they may bleed or rupture and cause problems.
The exact causes of this presentation are not known, but some do believe it happens due to some changes during the period when the child is in the womb itself.
Liver hemangiomas are the ones occurring on the liver. They are typically symptomless as well, and very rarely cause any problems. They are usually diagnosed when a person is suffering from some other ailment and is advised to undergo some diagnostic tests and procedures for the detection of that ailment. It is then that the hemangiomas are seen on the liver in the tests.
What Is The Prognosis For Liver Hemangioma?
The prognosis for liver hemangioma is good. Most of the hemangiomas shrink completely. And even if they are present they are of little or no consequence to the body. Sometimes, after the complete involution of the hemangioma, it may leave a faint scar or some mild skin discoloration which is hardly of any consequence to the body, except for the cosmetic purposes.
Hemangiomas can occur on other organs as well including kidneys and lungs. If a liver hemangioma is of not affecting the body adversely, then the treatment options need not be considered. Surgery and other treatments should only be used if it is of utmost importance to remove the liver hemangioma.
If a physician suspects liver hemangioma, he may ask one to undergo a few diagnostic tests and procedures, which include USG, CT scan and MRI. If the hemangiomas are causing any symptoms which are potentially hazardous, then there may be call for their removal. The treatment can be done in several ways.
The Treatment of Liver Hemangioma
Generally, no treatment is needed at all if a liver hemangioma is considerably small, as it is usually asymptomatic. Most of the times, the liver hemangioma never grows and cause any issues. Only a regular follow up is enough to help the doctor to see whether it is growing. But, in the rare case that it does, the treatment will entirely depend on the site and the size of the hemangioma. Also, multiple hemangiomas if present will be a deciding factor when it comes to the treatment.
If at all treatment is needed, then there are a number of different options which can be presented to you, depending upon your condition and necessity for a particular treatment protocol. These methods generally include surgery, which is performed differently for different conditions of hemangioma and radiation therapy, which is not exactly a choice of treatment these days, as more safe methods than this one are available nowadays.
If with the help of the surgery, the liver hemangioma can be removed, this will be the choice of treatment for most of the doctors. Very rarely if needed, a part of the liver may have to be removed, if separating only the hemangioma isn’t possible. Another option is to stop the blood supply to the hemangioma, by tying up the artery that sends blood to it. This is called hepatic artery ligation. If there is no blood supply to the hemangioma, it will eventually stop growing and may even shrink in size over the period.
As said earlier, radiation therapy is an option, but not a choice of treatment as other safe options are available. Only if those options fail to be of use, then the doctor might consider using radiation therapy.
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