Lymphangiomas in infancy and childhood.

Saudi medical journal

PubMedID: 15083217

Al-Salem AH. Lymphangiomas in infancy and childhood. Saudi Med J. 2004;25(4):466-9.
Lymphangiomas are rare congenital malformations, commonly seen in the head and neck. This is a review of our experience in the management of 22 children with lymphangiomas.

The medical records of children with lymphangioma admitted to Qatif Central Hospital, Qatif, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over a period of 10 years from August 1989 to July 2000 were retrospectively reviewed for age at diagnosis, gender, mode of presentation, site of lymphangioma, method of treatment and outcome.

We treated 22 children (12 females and 10 males) with lymphangioma. Their ages ranged from birth to 12 years, but majority (73%) were 4 years of age or younger. In 10 (45.5%), the lymphangioma involved the neck, 5 of them presented with sudden neck swelling as a result of hemorrhage into a lymphangioma, which caused diagnostic confusion. One patient had extensive lymphangioma involving the floor of the mouth, tongue, and left parotid gland. The remaining 11 patients had lymphangioma involving the parotid gland in 2, floor of the mouth in 3, and one each in the abdominal wall, above the right knee, mediastinum, breast, scrotum, and mesentery. All were treated surgically except 3 who were treated with intralesional bleomycin and showed complete disappearance of their lesions. There was recurrence in the child with mediastinal lymphangioma and a small recurrence in the child with bilateral lesions in the floor of the mouth.

Lymphangiomas are relatively rare, involving mainly the head and neck, but they can be rarely seen at other sites. An important observation is the sudden appearance of cervical lymphangioma as a result of hemorrhage, which should be kept in mind. Our experience in the treatment of lymphangiomas using bleomycin is limited to draw any conclusions. We therefore considered surgery as treatment of choice for lymphangiomas. However, sclerotherapy can be used when there is a risk of damaging surrounding structures, and also to obviate the poor cosmetic results.