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Timely intervention of liver hemangiomas treatable

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Dr Rajesh Upadhyay,  Director Gastroenterology and Hepatology,  Max Super Speciality Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi elucidates on liver hemangiomas and their treatment protocols

Advancements made in the field of medical science, surgical interventions can not only treat liver hemangiomas but the patients have a better quality of life, post treatment.

Usually liver hemangiomas are benign lump consisting of blood vessels in the liver which is often painless and harmless. If left untreated, these lumps grow in size and leads to pain and discomfort with other symptoms. Even though it is non-cancerous some of them start occurring externally on the skin and some inside the liver, which can be multiple in numbers.

Liver hemangiomas may cause symptoms, as people usually have small sized and solitary liver hemangiomas. In most of the cases, a larger hemangioma can rupture, it can interfere with organ function and start causing bleeding into the abdomen, or widespread blood clotting and it can lead to heart failure too. However, some people can have multiple hemangiomas in the liver. If the size of the hemangioma is larger than 4 cm in diameter, an immediate surgery is recommended.

If the tumour is small in size and causing no discomfort, treatment is unnecessary. But if one starts experiencing pain or other symptoms, medical treatment may be needed to improve the condition. In most of the cases, surgery is required to remove the tumour. If the hepatic hemangioma is easy to get at, the doctor may elect to remove the mass in an attempt to reduce damage to the tissues of the liver. In other cases, the doctor may be required to remove a portion of the liver—known as a resection—in addition to the tumour.

Initially, liver hemangiomas are diagnosed in people between the ages of 30 and 50 years old. Additionally, these liver blood clots are five times more likely to occur in women than in men. There is still no reason why these lumps develop, but after a lot of researches, it may be a genetic predisposition, or it may be a congenital condition. The growth of these liver tumours may correlate with the levels of estrogen in the body, especially during pregnancy.

In addition, a medical expert may try to block the blood supply to the tumour through a surgical procedure known as a hepatic artery ligation or through an injection called an arterial embolisation.  In rare cases, a liver transplant may be required if the size and scope of the hepatic hemangioma can’t be remedied by other procedures mentioned above. Finally, radiation therapy is a treatment option to shrink the size of the mass.

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