close   X

May also be called: Lymphangioma; Superficial Lymphatic Malformation; Microcystic Lymphatic Malformation

Lymphangioma circumscriptum (lim-fan-gee-OH-muh sur-kum-SCRIP-tum) is an abnormal formation of lymphatic vessels (parts of the body that transport lymph) that appears as a patch of wart-like growths on the skin.

More to Know

The lymphatic system is an extensive drainage network that helps keep bodily fluid levels in balance and defends the body against infections. It is made up of a network of lymphatic vessels that carry lymph — a clear, watery fluid — throughout the body.

With lymphangioma circumscriptum, a birth defect causes lymphatic vessels in the skin to be malformed, which slows down the flow of lymph. The lymphatic vessels dilate, or grow wider, and lymph can start to pool up and push on the outer layer of skin, causing small fluid-filled blisters (vesicles), usually in the first 2 years of life.

The vesicles can be clear, pink, or dark red, and they may burst open and drain lymph. Lymphangioma circumscriptum can affect any part of the skin, but areas most commonly affected include the armpits, tongue, trunk, upper arms, and upper legs.

Treating lymphangioma circumscriptum usually involves surgery to remove the affected skin and lymphatic vessels.

Keep in Mind

Having lymphangioma circumscriptum can cause self-image problems, but the condition is harmless. Surgery to treat it is often effective, although sometimes vesicles may reappear after treatment.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.