Definition - what is a hemangioma?
Every one of us has already seen a hemangioma, also called: strawberry mark. Parents are always worried when their just born son comes to the world with a hemangioma (usually on his face or head). In fact, this sponge can appear in several organs such as the bone tissue, the lung tissue, the kidney tissue, the liver, the pancreatic tissue (pancreas) but they can also disappear after a period of time. Hemangiomas are malformations due to an excess of tissue that proliferates in the veins, arteries, or lymphatics vessels.
It is always possible to find a hemangioma in the vertebral bodies or in the vertebral arch during a different type of investigation. Usually affected are the thoracic and lumbar spine and statistics show that women are affected more often than men. Although such tumors are benign per se, they can become a danger. Seldom through their growth, they require space in the spine, can press on nerves and attack or destroy important structures. They rarely cause instability with the risk of vertebral fractures.
What causes a hemangioma?
Hemangiomas originate when blood vessels re-build and proliferate themselves. The exact cause is unknown but genetic and hereditary factors are not excluded. Hemangiomas can arise anywhere where there are blood vessels, and then be visible to the outside, but also internally to the organs.
Mostly hemangiomas are asymptomatic. But when they become symptomatic there is almost a painful limited mobility in the spine where the hemangioma is. Particular attention must be paid to pressure and pain in the bones. Sensitivity disorders, bladder and rectal disorders are also possible but rare. Patients report repeatedly the so-called resting pain – that is to say in a resting position. In case of a malignant tumor symptoms are different: fever, weight loss, night sweats, lymphadenopathy and fatigue.
Diagnosis - how is a hemangioma diagnosed?
Most patients who turn to their specialist are clueless and scared. "What is growing in my body?" Is a question continually made to doctors but even the best specialist cannot answer immediately. The only thing he can do is to recommend an accurate diagnostic procedure in order to have a clear view of the situation. After a detailed anamnesis between the doctor and the patient takes place they proceed to the usual neurological examinations, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), laboratory diagnostics, possibly also nuclear medicine examination procedures and a biopsy which implies the examination of a tissue sample.
Therapy - this is how hemangiomas are treated effectively
Little and stables hemangiomas should not be treated but controlled periodically almost once a year with an MRI examination, in order to see if it grows. Usually, in order to avoid vertebral fractures, the kyphoplasty is used. If there is already an instability or tear, the affected segments will be stabilized. If the hemangioma penetrates the spinal canal, or if fragments of broken bones are already present in the spinal canal, they will be removed microsurgically.
Such an intervention may sound simple in theory, but as a matter of fact, it requires the highest surgical abilities. In the end, the spine hosts again the spinal cord and the spinal nerves- vital and extremely sensitive components of the nervous system. The removal of the hemangioma should never cause damage to the nerves because damage to the nerves is always irreparable.
The Avicenna Clinic in Berlin is always willing to help you
Since the year 2001, the Avicenna Clinic is based in Berlin. Our doctors have at least 25 years of international experience in their respective fields (neurosurgery, spinal surgery, anesthesia, and orthopedics).
If you have severe back pain, a herniated disc or a suspected herniation, please contact us using the following information:
You can call anytime, write an e-mail or fill out a callback form. Each patient then gets an appointment with a doctor of our clinic, who is a spine specialist (neurosurgeon). Based on MRI images (brought or made in our clinic) and on an in-depth examination, the doctor will discuss with you all the different therapy options or possibly surgery. You can also use our specialists only to obtain a (second) opinion.
If you decide to undertake your therapy and/or surgery in Berlin, we would want to make your stay as pleasant as possible. In our clinic, you are at the center of our attention! You can expect state-of-the-art equipment in all areas - from the operating room to the patient bedroom.
The latest, gentle, minimally invasive treatment procedures are the focus of our clinic. Together we try to find a suitable treatment for your complaints. The actual therapy takes place only after a detailed discussion with the patient, examinations and the diagnostics.
For us, as important as medical care, it is the commitment we take to guarantee our patients a high level of personal care that can, in turn, ensure them a comfortable stay.
During the period of inpatient stay our team of nurses will take care of you 24 hours a day. They also offer services in several foreign languages, including English, Russian, Polish, Turkish, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Bulgarian and French. We care not only about your safety but also your needs, respecting traditions and religions.
Our team is made up of a group of highly qualified specialists who work together to guarantee you a quick recovery.