Lymphangioma: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Also known as lymphatic malformations, they are non-cancerous masses of the lymphatic system that consist of spaces filled with fluid.

The lymphatic system of a person functions as part of the immune system and is responsible for protecting the body from diseases and infections.

Malformations are commonly present at the birth of the child or at the time the child reaches two years of age. Lymphangioma may affect any part of the body with the exception of the brain, but is more common in the neck and head.

When the mass is congenital, the malformation is spongy, soft and not sensitive. A number of lymphangiomas may be large and others may not, but despite the size, the mass may still cause functional deterioration of certain organs or other nearby structures and disfigurement.

Lymphagioma circumscribed

Lymphangioma circumscriptum is a microcystic malformation in the lymphatic system that usually appears in the neck, armpits, mouth and shoulders.

They will appear as a small blister that gathers and contains lymphatic fluid. The color varies from pink to dark red, black or brown.

Small patches may become more visible during puberty and may bleed or become infected. These are benign or non-cancerous and treatment is usually not necessary, but some people still prefer to have them surgically removed for cosmetic reasons.


The precise reason why lymphatic malformations arise is not yet known. Lymphangioma is the product of abnormalities that formed in the development of the lymphatic vascular system in the course of embryonic growth.

No hereditary, environmental or immunological risk factors have been identified that are identified as the triggering factor of the lymphatic malformation.

Lymphangioma may occur in the mother’s uterus as part of a larger syndrome such as Turner syndrome, Down syndrome and Noonan syndrome . The lymphatic malformations that are commonly discovered in this context revert and are not present at the time of birth.

Symptoms of lymphangioma

Symptoms caused by lymphangioma arise from blockage or compression of nearby structures in general. These malformations can involve any tissue, but they are usually seen in only one area of ​​the body and are often scattered.

If the lymphatic malformations are distributed in soft tissues and bones, this can be called lymphangiomatosis.

Malformations usually grow at a slow pace as the patient grows, but sometimes they become smaller or grow rapidly if triggered by trauma, bleeding or infection.

Not all people with this condition experience all the symptoms that include:

  • Swelling of the jaws, tongue, arms, fingers, cheeks, legs or lips.
  • Respiratory difficulties
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Speech problems
  • Hypertrophy or excessive growth within an organ.
  • A large mass filled with fluid on the back and the underside of the neck.
  • Double vision.
  • Chest problems
  • Constipation.
  • Obstruction of the bladder.


The doctor can perform the following procedures after performing a physical examination and knowing the complete medical history of the patient for the diagnosis of lymphangioma:


It is a diagnostic tool used for the evaluation of certain structures and organs in the body that involves the use of high frequency sound waves. Some lymphatic malformations can be seen during pregnancy.


A transmission of light through the tissues is used to aid in the diagnosis.

Computed tomography:

It is an imaging procedure that uses computer technology and X-rays to produce cuts of the body. This method is more detailed because it produces clear images of any part of the body.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI):

This method could show the characteristics of the soft tissues and, sometimes, helps to distinguish the type of malformation present.

Treatment of lymphangioma

Lymphangioma treatments depend on certain factors determined by the doctor. General health, age, medical history, the degree of the condition and the patient’s preference or tolerance to certain treatments should be taken into account.

The observation is basically observed if there can be growth or changes and followed by specific treatments such as:


Antibiotics are usually prescribed to treat infections.


This can be recommended especially if the malformation is located in an area of ​​the body. The objective is to avoid additional complications and recover the function of the affected area.


It is a procedure used to mark the sac of the affected area so that it can not be filled again.