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Lymphatic Malformations

(Lymphangioma; Lymphangioma Circumscriptum; Cystic Hygroma; Cavernous Lymphangioma)

By

Denise M. Aaron

, MD, Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine

Last full review/revision Jan 2022
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Topic Resources

Lymphatic vascular malformations are elevated lesions composed of dilated lymphatic vessels.

Most lymphatic malformations are present at birth or develop within the first 2 years.

Lesions are usually yellowish tan but occasionally reddish or purple if small blood vessels are intermingled. Puncture of the lesion yields a colorless or blood-tinged fluid.

Diagnosis of Lymphatic Malformations

  • Clinical evaluation

Diagnosis of lymphatic malformations is made clinically and by MRI as the clinical differential diagnosis may be broad.

Treatment of Lymphatic Malformations

  • Usually unnecessary

Treatment of lymphatic malformations is usually not needed. Common treatments include sclerotherapy and excision. Recurrence is common.

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Infantile Hemangiomas
Superficial infantile hemangiomas have a bright red appearance, while infantile hemangiomas that are deeper have a bluish color. Lesions in certain locations of the body can interfere with function. Which of the following locations of an infantile hemangioma is considered an emergency and should be attended to promptly to avoid permanent defects?
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