This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Lymphatic malformations or lymphangiomas are benign (non-cancerous) vascular lesions made of fluid-filled spaces (cysts) thought to occur due to abnormal development of the lymphatic system. In general, lymphatic malformations are categorized into macrocystic, microcystic, or combined depending on the size of the cysts; they are also classified in superficial lesions known as lymphangioma circumscriptum, and more deep-seated lesions (cavernous lymphangioma and cystic hygroma). They are present at birth, although they may be discovered later in life. They are most
commonly located in the neck and axilla, but
they also occur in the mouth, arm, mediastinum,
lung, leg, abdomen and viscera. Some may appear as a tiny blue or red spot while others are massive and affect an entire arm or leg. The signs and symptoms vary depending on the size and location of the mass; however, lymphangiomas can disfigure affected areas and disrupt the function of nearby organs or tissues. The exact underlying cause is unknown. Treatment options vary based on the signs and symptoms present in each person but may include surgery.
For more information, visit GARD.