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Intramuscular Angioma

Last updated Oct. 13, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

An angioma is a kind of benign tumor involving the blood vessels. Intramuscular Angioma typically arises from blood vessels, present within the skeletal muscles.

What are the other Names for this Condition? (Also known as/Synonyms)

  • Intramuscular Angiolipoma
  • Intramuscular Hemangioma

What is Intramuscular Angioma? (Definition/Background Information)

  • An angioma is a kind of benign tumor involving the blood vessels. Intramuscular Angioma typically arises from blood vessels, present within the skeletal muscles
  • An Intramuscular Angioma is a form of soft tissue (deep-seated) tumor, though its occurrence is rare
  • It is frequently found in the thigh; the other regions affected being, the neck and head region
  • Young adults and teenagers are most commonly affected
  • Many of the tumors are asymptomatic. Some individuals may experience a painful mass, or a nodule at the site

Who gets Intramuscular Angioma? (Age and Sex Distribution)

  • Intramuscular Angioma is usually found in teenagers and adults (age less than 30 years)
  • There is no gender differentiation observed; both sexes are equally affected
  • There is no specific data/information available, on any racial/ethnic preference

What are the Risk Factors for Intramuscular Angioma? (Predisposing Factors)

Risk factors are currently unknown; but some Intramuscular Angiomas are thought to occur before birth.

It is important to note that having a risk factor does not mean that one will get the condition. A risk factor increases ones chances of getting a condition compared to an individual without the risk factors. Some risk factors are more important than others.

Also, not having a risk factor does not mean that an individual will not get the condition. It is always important to discuss the effect of risk factors with your healthcare provider.

What are the Causes of Intramuscular Angioma? (Etiology)

  • The exact cause and mechanism of Intramuscular Angioma formation, is unknown
  • It is suggested that the origin of the angioma, may be related to abnormal blood vessel proliferations, which occurs due to some (as yet unidentified) reasons

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Intramuscular Angioma?

The signs and symptoms of Intramuscular Angioma are:

  • It grows at a slow rate. Many tumors may not present any signs or symptoms. Occasionally, some tumors show mild symptoms
  • A soft tumor mass with no discoloration of the overlying skin is observed
  • Normally, some pain is felt at the location of the tumor. Both, size and intensity of the pain of the angioma may increase after some physical strain, like exercise or sports
  • Most common location of the tumor is the quadriceps muscles of the thigh. Other locations include the neck, face, arms, and upper torso

How is Intramuscular Angioma Diagnosed?

Intramuscular Angioma is diagnosed using the following tools:

  • Physical exam with evaluation of medical history
  • Radiographic studies, such as x-rays and MRI scans of the affected region. Some calcification may be noted on the radiological studies
  • An angiography may be performed. It is an imaging technique to study blood vessels and helps determine the extent of the tumor
  • Histopathological studies conducted on a biopsy specimen by a pathologist

The pathologist, after careful microscopic examination, will arrive at a definitive diagnosis. Differential diagnosis is used to eliminate other Angioma types.

Many clinical conditions may have similar signs and symptoms. Your healthcare provider may perform additional tests to rule out other clinical conditions to arrive at a definitive diagnosis.

What are the possible Complications of Intramuscular Angioma?

Complications due to Intramuscular Angioma could include:

  • Recurrence of the tumor after surgery
  • Blood loss during invasive surgical treatment methods may be heavy. Due to this, the blood may accumulate outside the blood vessels, causing a hematoma
  • Severe pain
  • Damage to vital nerves, blood vessels, and surrounding structures during surgery

How is Intramuscular Angioma Treated?

Treatment measures for Intramuscular Angioma include the following:

  • If there are no symptoms, then non-operative measures are adopted (conservative treatment). However, periodic observations are maintained and if there is any pain, it is controlled through pain medication
  • Wide surgical excision with removal of the entire lesion is the standard treatment mode used. If the lesion is not fully removed, then the chances of its recurrence are high
  • Vascular embolization of the tumor, by blocking the blood vessels feeding the tumor, is used to provide temporary relief from the symptoms, and reduce blood loss during a surgical procedure
  • Laser surgery is a new technique, which helps control bleeding (that normally occurs in a regular surgery)to an extent, by decreasing the blood loss
  • When the angioma is at an inaccessible location, or is unsafe for surgical intervention, then non-invasive procedures, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, are adopted
  • Post-operative care is important with minimum activity level to be ensured, until the surgical wound heals. Also, post-operative follow-up care with regular screening and check-ups are important, especially to monitor for any recurrences

How can Intramuscular Angioma be Prevented?

Current medical research has not established a way of preventing Intramuscular Angioma.

What is the Prognosis of Intramuscular Angioma? (Outcomes/Resolutions)

  • Many Intramuscular Angiomas are asymptomatic, or may display only mild symptoms. Such tumors may not require any treatment
  • Prognosis is generally very good when the lesions are small and are completely excised. In such cases, their recurrence risk is also entirely avoided
  • The probability of lesion recurrence is high at 30-50%, after surgical removal of the tumor. This recurrence rate may be higher, if the tumor is incompletely removed

Additional and Relevant Useful Information for Intramuscular Angioma:

Intramuscular Angioma is pathologically classified as capillary, cavernous, or mixed, depending on the size of blood vessels forming the tumor.

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Sept. 27, 2013
Last updated: Oct. 13, 2018