What is liver hemangioma?
A liver hemangioma is a noncancerous (benign) mass in the liver. A liver hemangioma is made up of a tangle of blood vessels. Other terms for a liver hemangioma are hepatic hemangioma and cavernous hemangioma.
Most cases of liver hemangiomas are discovered during a test or procedure for some other condition. People who have a liver hemangioma rarely experience signs and symptoms and don’t need treatment.
It may be unsettling to know you have a mass in your liver, even if it’s a benign mass. There’s no evidence that an untreated liver hemangioma can lead to liver cancer.
How common is liver hemangioma?
Liver hemangiomas are the most common benign liver tumors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of liver hemangioma?
In most cases, a liver hemangioma doesn’t cause any signs or symptoms.
When a liver hemangioma causes signs and symptoms, they may include:
- Pain in the upper right abdomen
- Feeling full after eating only a small amount of food
However, these symptoms are nonspecific and may be due to something else, even if you have a liver hemangioma.
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes liver hemangioma?
Doctors aren’t sure why blood vessels clump together and form a liver hemangioma. However, they do believe that it has a genetic component, which means it tends to run in families. Some liver hemangiomas may be birth defects.
What increases my risk for liver hemangioma?
There are many risk factors for liver hemangioma, such as:
- Your age. A liver hemangioma can be diagnosed at any age, but it’s most commonly diagnosed in people ages 30 to 50.
- Your sex. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with a liver hemangioma than men are.
- Women who have been pregnant are more likely to be diagnosed with a liver hemangioma than women who have never been pregnant. It’s believed the hormone estrogen, which rises during pregnancy, may play a role in liver hemangioma growth.
- Hormone replacement therapy. Women who used hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms may be more likely to be diagnosed with a liver hemangioma than women who did not.
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is liver hemangioma diagnosed?
Tests and procedures used to diagnose liver hemangiomas include:
- Computerized tomography scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging
Other tests and procedures may be used depending on your situation.
How is liver hemangioma treated?
Most liver hemangiomas don’t require treatment and only need monitoring. However, a hemangioma may need to be removed surgically if it’s large and causing symptoms. If it causes significant pain or damage to a part of the liver, your doctor may decide to remove the entire affected section.
A liver hemangioma can grow if there’s a significant amount of blood flowing to it. In this case, your doctor may tie off the main artery that’s supplying blood to the hemangioma. The areas surrounding the liver will get blood from other arteries and remain healthy. This surgical procedure is known as hepatic artery ligation.
In other cases, your doctor may decide to inject a medication into the hemangioma to block the blood supply, which leads to its eventual destruction. This is called arterial embolization.
In very rare situations, a liver transplant may be required. During this procedure, your damaged liver is replaced with a donor’s liver. This is only necessary if the hemangioma is extremely large or if multiple hemangiomas don’t respond to other treatments.
Radiation therapy may also be needed to shrink the mass. However, this is also an extremely rare form of treatment.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage liver hemangioma?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with liver hemangioma:
- A liver hemangioma rarely causes future complications. However, a hemangioma may begin to cause problems if it increases in size. Pay attention to any symptoms that could be related to an enlarged hemangioma, such as nausea, vomiting, and persistent pain in your upper right abdomen.
- It’s also important to take care of your liver. Drink in moderation, maintain a healthy weight, and quit smoking if you’re a smoker. These lifestyle changes can lower your risk of developing other, more serious liver conditions.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: November 14, 2017 | Last Modified: November 14, 2017
Erdogan, D., Busch, O., van Delden, O., Bennink, R., ten Kate, F., Gouma, D. and van Gulik, T. (2007). Management of liver hemangiomas according to size and symptoms. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 22(11), pp.1953-1958.
Liver hemangioma. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/liver-hemangioma/symptoms-causes/syc-20354234. Accessed November 14, 2017.
Hemangioma of the Liver (Hepatic Hemangioma). https://www.healthline.com/health/hepatic-hemangioma#overview1. Accessed November 14, 2017.