Tufted Angioma

Tufted angiomas are rare benign vascular tumors that are made up of a collection of blood vessels.

Symptoms and History

Tufted angiomas grow on the skin and underlying tissues on the upper trunk, neck, arms and legs. They are red, dull red, brown-red or purple in color. It tends to appear as a small “bruise-like” area that continues to grow and does not improve with time. They typically develop during infancy or early childhood. About 60%-70% of tufted angiomas develop before the age of 5. The tumor may cause tenderness at the site of the lesion or excessive sweating at the site of the tumor.

Diagnosis

The physician will likely send the patient for some type of imaging study to analyze the extent of the tumor.  While it may be apparent to the physician that the patient has a tumor that is derived from blood vessels, a tumor biopsy will be required to make an exact diagnosis (sometimes it may be performed as an office-based skin biopsy).  The sample will be sent to a pathologist who will analyze the tumor using a microscope and make a diagnosis. 

Laboratory. Tufted angioma can cause a serious blood clotting disorder called Kasabach–Merritt syndrome. Only approximately 10% of tufted angiomas develop Kasabach-Merritt syndrome.This is characterized by trapping of blood cells inside of the tumor, increasing the pain and the risk of bleeding.

Genetics. Not much is yet known regarding genetics of tufted angioma

Treatment

This is a benign tumor that may improve or go away over time. In most situations it does not require any treatment or maybe just a simple surgical resection (if practical and clinically necessary).  If the child develops Kasabach-Merritt syndrome, medical therapy will be necessary to address the coagulation abnormality.

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