Lymphatic Malformations used to be called cystic hygroma, hemangiolymphangioma, or lymphangiomas. The lymphatics serve as a collection and transfer system for tissue fluids. When something disturbs this system, a lymphatic malformation is formed. The excess fluid accumulates and the affected lymphatic vessels enlarge and you see a mass.
Research indicates that an absence of the correct number of lymphatics is the cause of the lymphatic malformation.
Lymphatic malformations are sponge-like masses of abnormal channels and spaces containing clear fluid. Leakage from the skin can occur. This can further lead to cellulitis.
If the lymph vessels in the face are affected, the face swells because the normal active transport mechanism has been disturbed.
These lesions can occur anywhere but are common in the head and neck area. These lesions may be superficial or deep (superficial ones are seen in the mouth area and look like frogs eggs). These lesions increase or grow with the individual. They may enlarge following an upper respiratory infection.
Lymphatic malformations are either micro-cystic or macro-cystic. Lesions that are macro-cystic (large spaces in the lesion) appear as a soft, clear mass under normal or bluish skin and may respond to a drug called OK-432. This treatment should be discussed with a physician to determine if the patient is a candidate; and should only be attempted if no prior surgery has been performed on the lesion. Micro-cystic malformations are small raised lesions containing clear fluid. These superficial lesions appear like small, clear bubbles, sometimes turning dark red due to bleeding.
It should be noted that only a skilled surgeon should operate on a lymphatic lesion. By removing some lymphatic vessels during surgery, you can actually cause enlargement of the lesion and further growth period.
MRI and CAT scan are used to diagnose lymphatic malformations. Laser treatment, sclerotherapy, and surgery are used to treat or remove these lesions.
this material is directly from the VBF "facts about vascular birthmarks and Tumors pamphlet.
VBF Director of Family Services
vbfadvocate @ live. com (no spaces)