Medical Definition of Hepatic hemangioma

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Hepatic hemangioma: A common benign tumor of the liver made up of small blood vessels. It is 4-6 times more common in women than men. These tumors are usually small, a quarter inch (less than 1 cm) in diameter, cause no problems and are discovered incidentally in the course of testing for an unrelated medical problem.

Large hepatic hemangiomas do occur, can cause symptoms -- pain, nausea, or enlargement of the liver -- and even rupture (a rare event) causing severe pain and bleeding into the abdomen that can be an emergency.

When a hemangioma is suspected, the challenge for the physician is to be sure that it is in fact a hemangioma and not another type of tumor, particularly a malignant one. Most hepatic hemangiomas need no treatment. If a hepatic hemangioma is large and causing symptoms, it can be surgically removed.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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