Lymphangioma Clinical Presentation

Updated: Apr 18, 2023
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Lymphangioma circumscriptum

The typical history involves a small number of vesicles on the skin at birth or shortly after. In subsequent years, they tend to increase in number, and the area of skin involved continues to expand. Vesicles or other skin abnormalities may not be noticed until several years after birth. Usually, lesions are asymptomatic, but, occasionally, patients may have spontaneous episodes of minor bleeding and copious drainage of clear fluid from ruptured vesicles.

Cavernous lymphangioma

Typically, during infancy, a solitary rubbery nodule with no skin changes becomes evident in a single location, such as the face, trunk, or extremity. These lesions often have a fast growth phase similar to that of raised hemangiomas. No family history of prior lymphangiomas is described.

Cystic hygroma

Soon after birth, the infant is noted to have a deep subcutaneous cystic swelling, usually in the axilla, base of the neck, or groin. If these lesions are drained, they tend to fill up rapidly with lymph fluid. The lesions tend to grow and increase to a large size if they are not completely excised at surgery.



Lymphangioma circumscriptum may occur. Lymphangiomas circumscriptum is associated with minor bleeding, recurrent cellulitis, and lymph fluid leakage. Two cases of lymphangiosarcoma arising from lymphangioma circumscriptum have been reported. However, in both of the patients, the preexisting lesion was exposed to extensive x-ray therapy. Therefore, radiation therapy should be avoided in lymphangiomas.

In cystic hygroma, large cysts can cause dysphagia, respiratory problems, and serious infection if they involve the neck.

A cystic lymphangioma of the scrotum may present as an acute scrotum, owing to the rare complication of hemorrhage. [22]

A Dabska tumor may rarely arise within lymphangioma circumscriptum. [23]