Haemangioma, specifically in the context of the liver, refers to a common, benign (non-cancerous) type of tumour composed of a tangle of blood vessels. It is the most frequently diagnosed benign liver tumour and is generally considered a congenital anomaly.


Liver haemangiomas are usually small, ranging from a few millimetres to a few centimetres in diameter. While they are typically harmless and often do not cause symptoms, some larger haemangiomas can potentially lead to complications, such as pain or discomfort, especially if they grow large enough to press on other organs.


Causes and Risk Factors

The exact cause of liver haemangiomas remains unclear, but they are believed to develop during foetal development. There is often no identifiable risk factor for the development of these benign tumours.



In many cases, liver haemangiomas do not cause any noticeable symptoms. However, if symptoms do arise, they can include:

  • Pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen
  • A feeling of fullness or bloating
  • Nausea



Liver haemangiomas are typically discovered incidentally during imaging tests such as ultrasounds, CT scans, or MRIs that are performed for unrelated health concerns. These imaging tests help visualize the liver and any abnormalities present. Specific imaging characteristics can also help to diagnose a liver lesion as a haemangioma and exclude alternative diagnoses (e.g., focal nodular hyperplasia)



Treatment for liver haemangiomas is generally not necessary, especially for small, asymptomatic cases. However, if the haemangioma is causing discomfort, increasing in size, or leading to complications, treatment options may include:

  1. Medications: In some cases, medication such as beta-blockers may be prescribed to help alleviate symptoms or reduce the size of the haemangioma.
  2. Radiological: If necessary, the blood vessels that comprise the haemangioma can be embolised (medically blocked/ clotted) to attempt to reduce the size of the haemangioma.
  3. Surgery: Surgical removal of the haemangioma may be considered in cases where the tumour is significantly large, symptomatic, or causing complications.

Regular follow-up visits with a healthcare provider are crucial for individuals diagnosed with liver haemangiomas, especially if they are experiencing symptoms or if the haemangioma is being monitored for any changes in size or characteristics. This ensures prompt detection of any potential complications and allows for timely management and treatment if necessary.

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