What Is a Liver Hemangioma?

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Liver hemangiomas, also known as hepatic or cavernous hemangiomas, consist of poorly formed blood vessels. These benign, or noncancerous, masses are usually less than two inches wide and rarely cause problems.

Cause

The exact cause of liver hemangiomas remains unknown. Doctors believe they might be present at birth.

Symptoms

Clinical signs include nausea, appetite loss, upper right abdominal pain and vomiting. Most liver hemangiomas don’t cause any symptoms, although women between the ages of 30 and 50 might face an increased risk of showing clinical signs, especially if they’ve been pregnant or had hormone replacement therapy during menopause.

Diagnosis

Diagnostic tests include CT scans, ultrasounds, magnetic resonance imaging and single-photon emission computerized tomography scans to check for masses.

Treatment

Most liver hemangiomas don’t need treatment. Large or multiple hemangiomas might require surgical removal, tying off the artery or injecting medication to stop blood flow to the area, a liver transplant or radiation therapy.

Warning

The increased production of estrogen during pregnancy can cause liver hemangiomas to become larger and lead to symptoms that could require treatment.

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