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Slovenska pediatrija 2010; 17: 24-27

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Review article


D. Ključevšek
Služba za radiologijo, Pediatrična klinika, Univerzitetni klinični center Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenija


Hemangiomas are the most common benign tumours of infancy. Girls are affected 3−5 times as often as boys. 60% of hemangiomas are located in the cervicofacial region. Hemangiomas have a typical natural three-phase course, with proliferative, stable and involutive phases. Hemangiomas can be diagnosed on clinical grounds in over 90% of cases. Diagnostic imaging may be useful in cases of deep hemangiomas with normal overlying skin, clinically atypical soft-tissue masses, for evaluation of the extension of obvious hemangiomas, cases of alarming hemangiomas, when immediate intervention is necessary, and for following the effectiveness of therapy. The basic imaging is ultrasound (US). Gray-scale US imaging of hemangiomas is non-specifi c, hence this should be supplemented by colour and power Doppler to assess vessel density (the number of colour fl ow signals/cm²) and by pulse Doppler to assess the type of vessels, the spectra of flow in the vessels with different Doppler parameters, and to define the possible presence of signs of arteriovenous communications. US can be very helpful in the differential diagnosis between hemangiomas and vascular malformations (particularly arteriovenous and venous) and from other non-vascular tumours in infancy. US-guided biopsy may be necessary in unclear and atypical cases.

Key words: hemangioma, vascular malformation, ultrasound.