This article will help you read and understand your pathology report for hemangioma.
by Robyn Ndikumana MD BScN and Allison Osmond, MD FRCPC, updated December 14, 2020
Blood vessels are hollow tubes that move blood around your body. Blood vessels that move blood away from the heart and towards the body are called arteries and arterioles. Blood vessels that bring blood back to the heart from the body are called veins or venules. The smallest blood vessels are called capillaries. They move blood inside an organ.
A hemangioma is a benign (non-cancerous) tumour made from abnormal blood vessels. Without a microscope, the tumour look red to blue in color, and there tends to be a clear border between the tumour and the surrounding normal tissue.
This kind of tumour can start anywhere on the body, although they are most commonly found in the skin, head and neck, and liver. These tumours range in size from very small (1-2 millimeter) very large (over 20 centimeter).
Hemangiomas can develop at any age. A tumour that is present at birth is called a congenital hemangioma. In contrast, a tumour that develops in the first few days or weeks after birth is called an infantile hemangioma. Other types of hemangiomas develop later in life.
There are many different kinds of hemangiomas. The type of hemangioma depends on when the tumour developed and the look of the tumour with and without a microscope.
Common types of hemangiomas
All types of hemangiomas are benign (non-cancerous). Some types are likely to disappear on their own while other types may have to be removed surgically.
The diagnosis can be made when a small sample of the tumour is removed in a procedure called a biopsy. The diagnosis can also be made when the entire tumour is removed and sent to a pathologist for examination under a microscope.
Some types of hemangiomas can decrease in size or even disappear on their own over time. This type of change is called regression and it is more commonly seen in infantile hemangiomas. Tumours that do not disappear on their own can be surgically removed. Some medications are also available to help shrink the tumour.