Liver hemangioma, or hepatic hemangioma, is a benign tumour in the liver. It is made of dilated (widened) blood vessels. It is not cancerous. It is the most common liver tumour, it does not show symptoms, and diagnosed incidentally when you are scanned. Liver haemangiomas are considered congenital. There may be one or more hemangiomas.
There are several subtypes of liver hemangiomas: giant, calcified, flash filling, hyanilized and other types. Only the giant hepatic hemangiomas can cause significant complications.
Hemangiomas are more common in women than in men. This is due to female hormones, which may promote the formation of hemangiomas. Hemangiomas can occur almost anywhere in the body.
Symptoms of liver hemangioma may never occur. Usually they are very small. Some liver hemangiomas may cause:
- pain in the upper right abdomen
- liver enlargement, when you feel full after eating
In rare cases, liver hemangioma may rupture. Then, the symptoms are severe pain and bleeding into the abdomen that may even be life threatening.
The cause of liver hemangioma is not known. It is considered that it is congenital.
In most cases, it remains the same size as when it was diagnosed. However, it is also unknown what causes the possible enlargement of the liver hemangioma in size.
Although the cause is unknown, the following factors may increase the risk of liver hemangioma:
- Gender – women have higher incidence than men
- Age – it is usually diagnosed at the of 30-50
- Pregnancy – raised estrogen level during pregnancy is thought to be a risk factor
- Hormone replacement therapy, administered during menopause
Possible complication in liver hemangioma is the period during pregnancy, when women may be prescribed estrogen-based medications that can cause these tumors to grow.