Also referred to as "cystic hygromas" or "lymphangiomas," lymphatic malformations are abnormal growths typically found on a child’s head and neck. They are usually noticeable at birth in the form of a swelling, which can range in size from smaller than a quarter to as large as a baseball.
Lymphatic malformations can occur as multiple cysts filled with fluid (microcytic lesions) within the skin and deeper tissues. This leads to swelling and enlargement of the involved structures. Macrocystic lesions typically involve just one or two large, fluid filled sacs that often cause significant enlargement of the surrounding soft tissues.
Treatment Options for Lymphatic Malformations
Treatment of lymphatic malformations may involve medical, laser, or surgical therapy. Many lymphatic malformations swell significantly in response to infections, and may develop redness or rash and warmth. In these cases, an oral course of steroids and antibiotics is often necessary to treat the underlying infection; however, the swelling may remain for several weeks. A combination of surgical, laser, and sometimes sclerotherapy treatment is often necessary to attempt to control the progression of cysts, remove the bulky disease, and restore normal contour and appearance to the involved tissues.