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Virtual Pediatric Hospital: Paediapaedia: Cystic Hygroma (Lymphangioma) Paediapaedia: Chest and Airway Diseases

Cystic Hygroma (Lymphangioma)

Michael P. D'Alessandro, M.D.
Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

Clinical Presentation:
Fifty percent present in the first year and 90% present by two years of age. Usually the lesion is just cosmetically annoying but they can compress the airway and esophagus if they invade the mediastinum. The clinical course is characterized by intermittent or progressive growth, spontaneous regression, hemorrhage, and infection.

The lesion spreads and engulfs adjacent tissues without invading them.

Multilobular, multiloculated mass composed of cysts measuring 1 mm to 5 cm in diameter that contain serous fluid and are lined by lymphoendothelial tissue.

Imaging Findings:
Seventy five percent are in the neck, 20% in the axilla, and 5% in the retroperitoneum. Two to three percent of the cervical and axillary masses extend into the mediastinum.



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