Cavernous Hemangioma – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Definition

Cavernous hemangioma is a vascular tumor. It contains stagnant blood. It is a common birthmarks. Cavernous angioma, is also known as cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM), cavernous haemangioma, and cavernoma.

A cavernous hemangioma extends more deeply in the skin than a capillary hemangioma and is less likely to regress spontaneously.

These common birthmarks usually become symptomatic in older children or young adults, with bluish skin discoloration and local swelling, and pain. Male are more affected then women.

Cavernous hemangioma affect about 0.5 percent of the population worldwide.

Causes

Cavernous malformations tend to grow because of repeated small hemorrhages, or leaking of blood around the abnormal tissue.

Most cases of cerebral cavernous malformation result from a new mutation in the KRIT1, CCM2, or PDCD10 gene. These cases are known, and they occur in people with no history of the disorder in their family.

Symptoms

Hemangiomas may be present anywhere on the body. However, they are most disturbing to parents when they are on the infant’s face or head.

Hemangiomas are usually present at birth. Mostly they may appear within a few months after birth. Often it is beginning at a site that has appeared slightly dusky or differently colored than the surrounding tissue.

Clinical symptoms of this disease include-

  • Headaches
  • focal neurological deficits
  • Hemorrhagic stroke
  • A red to reddish-purple, raised lesion on the skin
  • A massive, raised tumor with blood vessels
  • chronic rectal bleeding

Treatment

The first treatment option is to observe the cavernous malformation with yearly MRI scans to see if it changes. This option may be indicated if the lesion is discovered incidentally and not thought to cause any problems.

Small cavernous hemangiomas situated on the surface of the body may be removed or treated by electrocoagulation. Surgery is usually needed if a cavernous hemangioma causes increased growth of an extremity. Recently, lasers have been used to reduce the bulk of the hemangiomas. Lasers emitting yellow light can selectively damage the vessels in the hemangioma without damaging the overlying skin.

If complications force the issue and some sort of treatment must be attempted, oral steroids will often trigger shrinking of the hemangioma. This is the most common approach. More heroic measures include injection of tiny beads or other foreign material to clogg up the vessels, or as a last resort, surgery.

It is very important to remove the entire malformation because it can grow back if a small piece is left behind. The risk of the operation depends on the size and location of the cavernous malformation and the general health of the patient.

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