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    Lymphatic Malformations

    Important
    It is possible that the main title of the report Lymphatic Malformations is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

    Synonyms

    • cavernous lymphangioma
    • cystic hygroma
    • cystic lymphangioma
    • lymphangioma circumscriptum
    • lymphangioma
    • lymphangiomatosis
    • macrocystic lymphatic malformation
    • microcystic lymphatic malformation

    Disorder Subdivisions

    • None

    General Discussion

    Lymphatic malformations are rare non-malignant masses consisting of fluid-filled channels or spaces thought to be caused by the abnormal development of the lymphatic system. These malformations are usually apparent at birth or by two years of age. Lymphatic malformations can affect any area of the body (except the brain), but most commonly affect the head and neck. When evident at birth (congenital), lymphatic malformations tend to be soft, spongy, non-tender masses. The specific symptoms and severity of lymphatic malformations varies based upon the size and specific location of the malformation. Some lymphatic malformations can be massive. Lymphatic malformations regardless of size can potentially cause functional impairment of nearby structures or organs and disfigurement of affected areas.

    The lymphatic system functions as part of the immune system and helps to protect the body against infection and disease. It consists of a network of tubular channels (lymph vessels) that transport a thin watery fluid known as lymph from different areas of the body into the bloodstream. Lymph accumulates between tissue cells and contains proteins, fats, and certain white blood cells known as lymphocytes. As lymph moves through the lymphatic system, it passes through a network of lymph nodes that help the body to deactivate sources of infection (e.g., viruses, bacteria, etc.) and inflammation (e.g. antigens). Groups of lymph nodes are located throughout the body, including in the neck, under the arms (axillae), at the elbows, and in the chest, abdomen, and groin. The lymphatic system includes the spleen, which filters worn-out red blood cells and produces lymphocytes, and bone marrow, which is the spongy tissue inside the cavities of bones that manufactures blood cells.

    Several different terms were once used to describe conditions now grouped under the umbrella term "lymphatic malformations". Such terms include cystic hygroma, lymphangioma, cavernous lymphangioma, cystic lymphangioma, and lymphangioma circumscriptum. These terms have been abandoned because some of the outdated terms imply a relationship to cancer. Lymphatic malformations are not cancerous and there is no known risk of malignant transformation.

    Resources

    March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
    1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
    White Plains, NY 10605
    Tel: (914)997-4488
    Fax: (914)997-4763
    Tel: (888)663-4637
    Email: Askus@marchofdimes.com
    Internet: http://www.marchofdimes.com

    Contact A Family
    209-211 City Road
    London, EC1V 1JN
    United Kingdom
    Tel: 02076088700
    Fax: 02076088701
    Tel: 08088083555
    Email: info@cafamily.org.uk
    Internet: http://www.cafamily.org.uk/

    Cystic Hygroma and Lymphangioma Support Group
    United Kingdom
    Tel: 02086729259
    Email: darrenbowler1@gmail.com or corinne321@hotmail.co.uk
    Internet: http://www.chalsg.org.uk/

    Vascular Birthmarks Foundation
    P.O. Box 106
    Latham, NY 12110
    USA
    Tel: (877)823-4646
    Email: hvbf@aol.com
    Internet: http://www.birthmark.org

    Lymphovenous Canada
    8 Silver Ave
    Toronto
    Ontario, M6R 1X8
    Canada
    Tel: 4165332428
    Email: info@lymphovenous-canada.ca
    Internet: http://www.lymphovenous-canada.ca

    Lymphatic Research Foundation
    40 Garvies Point Road
    Glen Cove, NY 11542
    USA
    Tel: (516)625-9675
    Fax: (516)625-9410
    Email: lrf@lymphaticresearch.org
    Internet: http://www.lymphaticresearch.org

    Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
    PO Box 8126
    Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
    Tel: (301)251-4925
    Fax: (301)251-4911
    Tel: (888)205-2311
    TDD: (888)205-3223
    Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

    National Organization of Vascular Anomalies
    PO Box 38216
    Greensboro, NC 27438-8216
    Email: admin@mail.novanews.org
    Internet: http://www.novanews.org

    Lymphangiomatosis & Gorham's Disease Alliance
    19919 Villa Lante Place
    Boca Raton, FL 33434
    Tel: (561)441-9766
    Email: info@lgdalliance.org
    Internet: http://www.lgdalliance.org/

    Venous Disease Coalition
    1075 S. Yukon Street, Suite 320
    Suite 320
    Lakewood, CO 80226
    Tel: (303)989-0500
    Fax: (303)989-0200
    Tel: (888)833-4463
    Email: info@venousdiseasecoalition.org
    Internet: http://www.venousdiseasecoalition.org

    For a Complete Report:

    This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

    The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

    It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

    This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

    For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

    Last Updated: 6/7/2011
    Copyright 1989, 2000, 2002, 2011 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

    WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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