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What is angiofibroma?

Angiofibroma is a relatively rare tumor occurring almost exclusively in adolescent boys.

  • The tumor is benign but aggressive.
  • It grows in the back of the nasal cavity.
  • It can obstruct the airway and cause nosebleeds.

Center for Head, Neck and Skull Base

Boston Children’s Hospital has a specialty center dedicated solely to disorders of the head, neck and skull base. It’s staffed by a multidisciplinary team of specialists from various fields who provide comprehensive assessment, treatment and follow-up.

Here, you’ll find expert doctors experienced in diagnosing and treating angiofibroma.

Angiofibroma | Symptoms & Causes

What are the symptoms of angiofibroma?

Each child experiences symptoms differently. Many symptoms depend on the size and the location of the tumor.

Here’s a list of some common symptoms your child may be experiencing:

  • Periodic nosebleeds
  • Facial swelling
  • Nasal congestion
  • Hyponasal speech (due to not enough air flow through the nose)
  • Otorrhea (draining ear)

Angiofibroma | Diagnosis & Treatments

How is angiofibroma diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, your child’s doctor may recommend the following diagnostic procedures:

  • Computerized tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan) — A diagnostic imaging procedure that is used to demonstrate the exact location and extension of the tumor into the skull base.
     
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — An imaging technique that produces detailed pictures of organs and structures within the body.

These tests allow your child’s surgeon to accurately determine how far the lesion has spread and to plan the surgical approach.

How is angiofibroma treated?

Your child's doctor will discuss treatment methods with you, but treatment usually consists of surgical removal of the tumor. In cases where the tumor has extended into the cranium, radiation therapy may be used.

What's the long-term outlook for my child?

Prognosis can vary greatly from child to child.

  • Some tumors may disappear on their own, while others will continue to grow.
  • It's not uncommon for the tumor to return after it's been surgically removed.
  • Prompt medical attention and aggressive therapy are important for the best prognosis and timely treatment.

Angiofibroma | Programs & Services