Liver hemangioma, medically termed as hepatic hemangioma or cavernous hemangioma, is one of the most prevalent types of liver tumours that are non-cancerous, characterised by a lump in the hepatic tissues. These masses are composed of a cluster of blood vessels, being quite small in size of about 4 – 5 cm or less in diameter. They are generally harmless and do not give rise to liver cancer or any other grave health-related repercussions. Usually, only one liver hemangioma grows in a person, which is very tiny and does not become enlarged. Yet, in rare circumstances, it can expand in size, leading to symptoms of pain and discomfort in the abdomen. Also, at times, multiple hemangiomas may form within the body of an individual.
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In most cases, liver hemangioma does not result in any additional sicknesses in adults, but it could be detrimental when it grows in babies, generally at a very young age of barely 6 months old or even earlier. Even though this condition in newborns, known as infantile hemangioendothelioma, is very rare and differs from infantile hemangioma in the skin seen in premature births, it could give rise to heart problems and hence must be treated at once.
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Causes Of Liver Hemangioma
Although the exact cause of these growths is not yet conclusively determined, medical researchers, doctors, healthcare experts ascertain that gene aberrations which are hereditary and congenital defects at birth most likely lead to the development of liver hemangioma. These benign growths in the liver tissues usually do not bulge in size throughout a person’s life and hence are not any serious cause for concern.
Certain risk factors make an individual more prone to developing liver hemangiomas. People between the ages of 30 to 50 years are most likely to incur a hepatic hemangioma, with women who have gone through a pregnancy or hormonal therapy for menopausal complaints being more susceptible to acquiring this condition.
In the majority of situations, no prominent signs are experienced owing to the hepatic hemangioma, which is a rather small growth in the liver. Painful sensations in the stomach similar to abdominal adhesions, nausea, reduced appetite, vomiting and feeling full after consuming very small amounts of food do occur in seldom cases.
Only in very grave instances, the clump of blood vessels in the liver cracks open, resulting in haemorrhage into the abdomen, rampant formation of blood clots and even lead to loss of life from heart failure.
Usually, a hepatic hemangioma does not give rise to any serious health difficulties. However, if these growths are detected in women, it could lead to problems during pregnancy or interfere with birth control medications.
During the gestational phase, the female reproductive hormone estrogen is synthesized in higher quantities, which could trigger the liver hemangioma to swell in size. It is thus advised for women to consult with a medical practitioner immediately upon diagnosis of liver hemangioma.
Liver hemangiomas are quite common in adults, but since they present with no obvious symptoms in most cases, are mostly identified by doctors when scanning the internal organs to probe for other health anomalies.
However, when the size of the blood vessel aggregation in the hepatic tissues is considerable and prompts certain discomforting signs, then the physician carries out certain analyses to examine the liver for any irregularities. These comprise non-invasive imaging tests such as ultrasound, MRI and CT scans, which provide detailed visuals of the liver and the nearby internal tissues.
The treatment approaches for liver hemangioma depend upon the symptoms, location, size and number of blood vessel bunches within the hepatic tissues. If the growth is very tiny and singular, without inducing any painful indications, then no advanced medical treatment is necessary. This is the most common form of liver hemangioma in adults.
Nevertheless, persistent pain owing to hepatic hemangioma or continuous blood supply to the abnormal growths which make them larger requires surgeries to rectify the conditions. These invasive procedures may involve removal of only the liver hemangioma, excising a segment of the liver that is damaged due to big masses in the hepatic cells or even a liver transplant due to several liver hemangiomas.