Hemangiomas are benign growths that form out of a large collection of rubbery red blood vessels. While hemangiomas can appear all over the body, they can often form in the liver.
The cause of these growths is unknown, but they are a congenial condition, meaning many people develop them before birth. Since female hormones can promote the formation of hemangiomas, women are more commonly seen with them than men.
Most liver hemangiomas are less than an inch in size and never cause any health problems or present symptoms, so a person may never know he or she has one. The growths are often discovered incidentally when a person is getting tested for another condition and needs a CT scan or an ultrasound.
However, hemangiomas that are larger in size could possibly cause symptoms. For instance, the liver can become enlarged and a person may vomit, feel nauseous, and have pain in the upper right abdomen. In very rare cases, the hemangioma can rupture if it large or positioned near other organs. This can cause bleeding in the abdomen that can be fatal.
Since hemangiomas aren’t usually dangerous, treatment usually consists of tests that confirm that the growth is in fact a hemangioma and not a malignant tumor. An MRI, CT scan, and scintigraphy can be used to check a hemangioma.
If a hemangioma is quite large or causing symptoms, then surgical removal is often recommended.