Breast nonmalignant
Benign tumors

Topic Completed: 1 April 2010

Minor changes: 9 September 2019

Copyright: 2002-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Lymphangioma [title] breast

Nat Pernick, M.D.
Page views in 2019: 2,167
Page views in 2020 to date: 771
Cite this page: Pernick N. Lymphangioma. website. Accessed May 30th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Either congenital or acquired
  • Congenital lesions are also called cystic hygroma
  • Acquired lesions are also called lymphangiectasis
  • Lymphangioma circumscriptum: the classic lesion appears at birth or in early years but most cases described in literature are postsurgery or radiation therapy
  • See also Atypical or benign vascular lesion, postradiation
  • 90% of congenital lesions present by age 2 years
Clinical features
  • Congenital lesions are very rare
  • Tends to infiltrate surrounding tissues
  • Associated with pain, chronic drainage, cellulitis (South Med J 1999;92:69)
Case reports
Clinical images

Contributed by Dr. Mark R. Wick

Superficial, breast skin

Images hosted on other servers

Vesicles on breast

Oozing of clear fluid from vesicles

Extensive sponge-like
subcutaneous tissue containing
serous fluid and lying between
the skin and the muscle layer

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Dilated lymphatics involve superficial and deep dermis and possibly subcutaneous tissue, occasionally fascia and skeletal muscle
  • May have hemosiderin deposition
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Dr. Mark R. Wick

Superficial, breast skin

Images hosted on other servers

Distended lymphatic channels interspersed with breast lobules; lymphatic channel has attenuated lining

Papillary dermis shows ectatic lymphatic spaces

Neck (not breast)

Contributed by Dr. Semir Vranić, University of Sarajevo (Bosnia):

Various images

Electron microscopy description
  • Endothelial cells have cytoplasmic microfilaments and pinocytotic vesicles
  • Intermediate junctions are present between adjacent cells (Jpn J Clin Oncol 1991;21:129)
Differential diagnosis
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