Lymphatic Malformation Symptoms & Causes

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What are some conditions related to lymphatic malformation (LMs)?

  • Gorham syndrome (Gorham-Stout syndrome) - A type of LM that occurs in bones and partially destroys them
  • Milroy disease - an inherited lymphedema (generalized swelling typically occurring in the legs) that is present at birth
  • Lymphangioma circumscriptum - an abnormal collection of tiny lymphatic cysts. It’s often more widespread than it first appears
  • Angiokeratoma - a group of skin lesions that are raised, dark red to black in color, and about 1 to 10 mm in size. Because these lesions often bleed spontaneously or following abrasion, treatment may be required to control bleeding.

What do lymphatic malformations look like?

  • They typically lie just beneath the skin in the neck and the armpit, although can also occur in other organs and in bones.
  • LMs appear as a swelling and sometimes more extensive enlargement of soft tissues and bones.
  • An LM in the skin looks like tiny clear bubbles that often become dark red due to bleeding.
  • LMs can cause the enlargement of any part of the body, including the lip, cheek, ear, tongue, limb, finger or toe.

What are the possible complications of LMs?

  • The two major complications are infection and bleeding.
  • A long-term complication is overgrowth of involved tissues and bones.

Can LMs be prevented?

No, but complications can be diminished.

  • LM often swells when the patient has a viral or bacterial infection anywhere in the body.
  • Infection in a LM of the head/neck region is less likely if your child brushes his teeth regularly and gets frequent cleanings by a dental hygienist.
  • Treat your child promptly for middle-ear infections.
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