Lymphangioma

Lymphangiomas are benign lesions of vascular origin that show lymphatic differentiation. It is considered the lymphatic equivalent of a haemangioma of blood vessels. 

This article focuses the general features of lymphangiomas. For a specific discussion in other locations, please refer to the articles:

They can present at any age but most often occur in the paediatric population (~90% in those less than 2 years old 3). 

Generally, the presentation may be with symptoms related to local mass effect and/or haemorrhage.  For example, a lymphangioma within the orbit may present with progressive proptosis with acute deterioration in symptoms, the mass effect resulting in compressive optic neuropathy, diplopia/ocular muscle weakness and orbital bruising.

Typically comprised of thin-walled cystic masses and may contain:

Their wall consists of connective tissue, smooth muscle, fat, blood vessels, nerve, or lymphatic tissue. 

They can occur at almost any location:

There are several recognised subtypes:

Most lymphangiomas appear homogeneous and cystic on CT, but some appear inhomogeneous because of the presence of proteinaceous, fluid, blood, or fat components within the lesion. It is rare for CT to demonstrate intrinsic septations. There is only minimal or no displacement/compression of adjacent structures.

Fluid-fluid levels may be seen if complicated by haemorrhage. Signal characteristics include:

  • T1: can be variable especially dependent on protein content
  • T2: usually high signal
  • content pending

Possible imaging differential considerations include:

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Article information

rID: 1611
Section: Pathology
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Lymphangiomas
  • Lymphangioma - general
  • Lymphangiomas - general

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Cases and figures

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    Lymphangioma Us 1
    Case 1: abdominal
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    Case 2: cystic hygroma of the arm
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