Liver hemangioma

The hemangiomas are the most common type of benign liver tumors. Tumors are the abnormal growth of the tissues or the cells. These tumors can be malignant (cancerous) and benign (noncancerous). Malignant liver tumors can be fatal and can spread to other parts of your body. Benign tumors are common and do not pose a serious risk.

Liver hemangioma, also known as a cavernous hepatic hemangioma, is the tangled network of blood vessels that develop in or on the surface of your liver. They do not cause any symptoms and require no treatment. In rare cases, the hemangiomas rupture and cause bleeding which requires surgical removal.


The cause of liver hemangioma is still unclear. The liver hemangioma may occur as a single abnormal collection of the blood vessels, or it can be multiple. Researchers believe that the hemangiomas are congenital. The liver hemangioma usually measures less than four centimeters in diameter and in some cases, it can be even larger. Larger tumors may cause certain symptoms such as abdominal discomfort and nausea. In most of the cases, liver hemangioma does not grow and do not cause any symptoms.

Rarely, a liver hemangioma may cause signs and symptoms that include:

  • Pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

The risk of liver hemangioma may be increased if you:

  • Have a family history of liver hemangioma
  • Are aged between 30 and 50
  • Are women

In women, the formation of hemangioma is associated with estrogen levels. The women who are undergoing hormone replacement therapy are at high risk of developing liver hemangioma.

Liver hemangiomas cause complications very rarely. If trauma or an injury triggers the growth of the hemangioma it may lead to the following complications.

  • Liver damage
  • Bleeding
  • Severe pain

Sometimes, the risk of complications may be high in the pregnant women diagnosed with liver hemangioma. The estrogen hormone that is released during pregnancy may aggravate the hemangioma.

Because liver hemangioma doesn’t cause any symptoms, it may go unnoticed. The liver hemangioma may be diagnosed incidentally while performing the tests for another medical condition. It can be identified with imaging tests such as ultrasound, computed tomography scan, or magnetic resonance imaging. These imaging tests provide a detailed view of your inner organs and help to identify the abnormalities.

In most of the cases, liver hemangiomas may not require any treatment. But, it requires continuous monitoring. However, if the hemangioma is causing symptoms such as pain and vomiting, then you may require medical care. The treatment of the liver hemangioma depends on the number, size, and location of the tumor. Your doctor might recommend any of the following treatments.

  • Surgical removal: Your doctor suggests a surgery if the hemangioma can be removed easily from the liver. If the hemangioma covers a large portion of your liver, then a portion of your liver is surgically removed.
  • Stopping the blood flow to the hemangioma: Your doctor might suggest certain medical procedures that involve obstructing the blood flow to the hemangioma. The procedures involve tying the main artery that supplies blood to the liver or injecting a medication that obstructs the artery.
  • Liver transplantation: If the hemangiomas can’t be treated with other surgical procedures, your doctor might suggest liver transplantation.
  • Radiation therapy: In rare cases, your doctor recommends radiation therapy which uses high-energy beams to destroy the hemangioma.