Cavernous hemangioma is a commonly seen asymptomatic vascular malformation. The following HealthHearty article provides some information about these benign lesions or tumors.
Cavernous hemangioma is a vascular disorder characterized by an abnormal development of blood vessels in the skin as well as internal organs. These vascular tumors contain large dilated blood vessels, and are more commonly observed in the brain and spinal cord. Other internal organs that may get affected include liver, spleen, pancreas, and thyroid glands. It affects less than 200,000 people in the United States, and is listed as a rare disease by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
What is This Disorder?
Also known as cavernous malformations or cavernoma, it involves the formation of tumors characterized by an accumulation of malformed, dilated blood vessels. These tumors are benign, and can be removed completely with the help of surgery. The commonly affected organs, and the respective details have been provided below.
Brain and Spinal Cord
Cerebral hemangiomas occur in about 0.5% of the population, and commonly affect adults in the age group of 20 to 30 years. Spinal hemangiomas are more common in adults between 50 and 70 years of age, and are twice more common in women. These benign, vascular lesions grow very slowly, and are usually painless. In some cases, the lesions are totally asymptomatic, and many patients spend their entire lives without any problems. These are generally discovered by mistake during an MRI scan performed while investigating other medical conditions.
The severity of the condition depends on the precise location of the lesion, and the tissue affected. The symptoms include seizures, headaches, cerebral hemorrhage or hemorrhagic stroke, paralysis, and rarely prove to be fatal.
The formation of hemangioma in the liver tissues is referred to as liver or hepatic hemangioma, and is believed to be a congenital condition. It occurs as a single abnormal mass of blood vessels. This benign mass is generally discovered during a routine test for the diagnosis of other liver disorders. There is no specific evidence supporting its association with liver cancer.
Although usually asymptomatic, the presence of such a mass in the liver may cause pain in the upper right abdomen, nausea, lack of appetite, and vomiting. However, in a few cases, the mass grows in size causing serious complications.
These cavernomas appear as a reddish-bluish, spongy mass of tissue that is filled with blood. The common affected sites include the neck and the face. They look like raised lesions, and are called birthmarks. These are benign masses that usually do not need treatment. In case of disfigurement, or problems with vision (in case of lesions near eyes), they can be removed with help of surgery.
If these tumors do not have any associated health problems, they can be left untreated. However, if they cause hemorrhage, or any other complications, they are removed through surgery or radiation therapy.
As mentioned above, most of the times, these lesions are asymptomatic in nature. However, in case of doubt or frequent occurrence of any specific set of symptoms, it is advisable to seek professional consultation.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.