Treatments and drugsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Most people don't need treatment
If your liver hemangioma is small and doesn't cause any signs or symptoms, you won't need treatment. While you may be worried about leaving a liver mass untreated, in most cases a liver hemangioma will never grow and will never cause problems.
Your doctor may schedule follow-up exams to check your liver hemangioma periodically for growth.
Treatment for liver hemangioma that causes signs and symptoms
If a liver hemangioma grows large enough to push on nearby structures in your abdomen, it can cause signs and symptoms and may signal that you need treatment. Liver hemangioma treatment depends on your situation, such as the location and size of the hemangioma, whether you have more than one hemangioma, your overall health and your preferences.
Treatment options may include:
- Surgery to remove the liver hemangioma. If the hemangioma can be easily separated from the liver, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the mass.
- Surgery to remove part of the liver, including the hemangioma. In some cases, surgeons may need to remove a portion of your liver along with the hemangioma.
- Procedures to stop blood flow to the hemangioma. Your surgeon may recommend stopping blood flow through the main artery to the hemangioma. Blood flow can be stopped by tying off the artery (hepatic artery ligation) or injecting medication into the artery to block it (arterial embolization). Without a blood supply, the mass may stop growing or shrink. The healthy liver tissue is unharmed, though, because it can draw blood from other nearby vessels.
- Liver transplant surgery. In very rare situations, if you have a very large hemangioma or multiple hemangiomas that can't be treated by other means, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove your liver and replace it with a liver from a donor.
- Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses powerful energy beams, such as X-rays, to damage the cells of the hemangioma. This treatment is rarely used.
- Di Bisceglie AM, et al. Tumor and cysts of the liver. In: Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6189-2..X0001-7--TOP&isbn=978-1-4160-6189-2&about=true&uniqId=229935664-2192. Accessed Nov. 15, 2010.
- Curry MP, et al. Hepatic hemangioma. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 15, 2010.
- Your liver. Your life. American Liver Foundation. http://www.yourliver.org/Liver-Wellness-Presentation.pdf. Accessed Nov. 16, 2010.