Liver hemangioma (he-man-jee-O-muh) is a noncancerous (benign) mass that occurs in the liver. A liver hemangioma is made up of a tangle of blood vessels. Liver hemangioma is sometimes called hepatic hemangioma or cavernous hemangioma.
Most cases of liver hemangioma are discovered during a test or procedure for some other condition. Most people who have a liver hemangioma never experience signs and symptoms and never need treatment.
It may be unsettling to know you have a mass in your liver, even if it's a benign mass. However, there's no evidence that an untreated liver hemangioma can lead to liver cancer.
A liver hemangioma is a noncancerous (benign) mass that can occur in the liver. A liver hemangioma is made up of a tangle of blood vessels. ...
In most cases, liver hemangioma doesn't cause any signs or symptoms.
When a liver hemangioma causes signs and symptoms, they may include:
When to see a doctor
The liver is your largest internal organ. About the size of a football, it's located mainly in the upper right portion of your abdomen, beneath the diaphragm and above your stomach, but a small ...
It's not clear what causes a liver hemangioma to form. Doctors believe liver hemangioma is congenital — meaning that you're born with it.
Liver hemangioma usually occurs as a single abnormal collection of blood vessels that is less than about 1.5 inches (4 centimeters) wide. Occasionally liver hemangiomas can be larger or occur in multiples.
In most people, liver hemangioma will never grow and never cause any signs and symptoms. But in a small number of people, liver hemangioma will grow to cause complications and require treatment. It's not clear why this happens.
Factors that can increase the risk that liver hemangioma will cause signs and symptoms include:
Complications that occur during pregnancy
Having a liver hemangioma doesn't mean you can't become pregnant. However, discussing the possible complications with your doctor can help you make a more informed choice.
Complications related to hormone therapy
Preparing for your appointment
The majority of liver hemangiomas are discovered during a test or procedure for something else. If it's thought that you have a liver mass, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in the digestive system (gastroenterologist) or one who specializes in the liver (hepatologist).
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For liver hemangioma, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment at any time.
Tests and diagnosis
Tests and procedures used to diagnose liver hemangioma include:
Other tests and procedures may be used depending on your particular situation.
Treatments and drugs
Most people don't need treatment
Your doctor may schedule follow-up exams to check your liver hemangioma periodically for growth.
Treatment for liver hemangioma that causes signs and symptoms
Treatment options may include:
Coping and support
Living with a liver hemangioma, even a small, dormant one, can be unsettling at first. You may be worried about whether your liver hemangioma is growing or whether it will cause complications in the future. With time, you may adjust to living with a liver hemangioma. Until you find your own ways of coping, consider trying to:
Last Updated: 2011-01-12
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