Vertebral hemangioma

A hemangioma can best be described as a benign tumor. It is most often formed by underdeveloped or malfunctioning blood vessels. The word hemangioma comes from two Latin words “hemangio” which means blood vessel, and “oma” which means tumour. Hemangiomas will often have absolutely no signs or symptoms and can be located in various parts of the body. One of the most common forms of hemangioma is the kind which forms on or around the vertebrae. This is most commonly referred to as the vertebral hemangioma. Although literally any vertebrae can be affected, it is usually found in the lower back. This specific hemangioma is not typically symptomatic however if it grows large enough it may actually cause the vertebrae to collapse. This will eventually impede on the spinal cord causing you much pain. If for any reason the spinal cord is pinched, this may even cause you loss of function in your bladder, bowels and legs.

The best way to describe a vertebral hemangioma is an abnormality of the blood vessels around the spine. This will, in turn, causes lesions around a number of vertebrae, but typically just one. As mentioned, they do not usually cause any symptoms, but if they do, back pain is the most likely. This will eventually lead to weakness in your lower back and legs. There are numerous effective treatments however these should always be discussed directly with your doctor. If your doctor initially suspects that you may have a vertebral hemangioma, they will need to take an x-ray. If their findings from the x-ray support their initial suspicions, you will be likely to need a CT scan, as well as an MRI scan. These will help to determine where the hemangioma is located, its size and shape. All of these tests are considered extremely safe and non-invasive.

One for treatment for a vertebral hemangioma is an endovascular embolization. This will typically involve a two-day hospital stay. Your doctor will need to insert a catheter into the hemangioma and will be guided by a CT. They will then be required to inject a chemical blocking agent which will cut off the hemangioma’s blood supply which should prevent any further problems.

Another method of treatment is known as the devascularization. This will involve the injection of absolute alcohol. The injection is known to completely destroy the hemangioma. This is achieved by dissolving the small capillaries that actually feed it. However if you wish to follow this method, you are likely to require more than one treatment.

Radiation therapy has also often been used to treat a vertebral hemangioma. This form of treatment will either involve high-energy rays from outside the body, or an injection of radioactive material directly into the body. Due to the fact that a hemangioma is a benign form of tumour, this form of radiation treatment should completely destroy it. There have been many medical studies carried out on this method and it has proven to be extremely safe with a very low level of complications.

All the above treatments are considered less invasive techniques. However, if a hemangioma does not respond to any of these treatments, you may have to consider surgery. A doctor can perform surgery to either remove or kill the hemangioma. As you may expect that any form of spinal surgery, there is a much higher risk of complications and the recovery time is far longer than any of the other methods. Whether you should have spinal surgery or not is a decision that can only be made by you. Prior to deciding whether or not to have spinal surgery you will need to take into account your own physical condition and your mental attitude. It is important to remember that your mental attitude will play a huge role in the ability your body has to heal itself.

Vertebral hemangiomas are actually relatively common and occur in approximately 10% of people. They are far more likely to be found in adults and extremely rare in children. Unfortunately the exact cause of a hemangioma, of any type, is unknown. However it is believed that genetics may play a large part. There have been many studies carried out to try and understand the exact causes of a hemangioma and there have been many differing views. Some studies claim that it may be due to localised tissue hypoxia, whereas other studies believe it is due to the increased amount of oestrogen that circulates after birth. It must be said that the increased levels of oestrogen provide a fairly solid argument, as vertebral hemangiomas are up to 5 times more common in women compared to men. No matter how serious a vertebral hemangioma may sound, it is important to remember that this condition is generally benign and will not typically lead to further debilitating symptoms. It is always best to confide in your doctor for a full diagnosis and treatment plan.

Last updated on Apr 5th, 2011 and filed under Cancer Research. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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