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Vertebra (spinal column) hemangioma: symptoms and treatment, danger, causes

There are many medical terms that are often distorted - it is not known why, but this sad fate befell the spine. It is known that this design represents a single functional structure - the spinal column, with physiological curves.

However, the spinal column is made up of individual vertebrae. The most commonly pronounced erroneous term is the expression "intervertebral hernia." The correct name is “intervertebral”.

The second most common distorted term is “spinal hemangioma”. In fact, no one has ever seen in his eyes a hemangioma that spread throughout the entire spine.

It is correct to say - “vertebra hemangioma”, since this formation occurs in one, single vertebra.

However, since we are used to speaking incorrectly, we will not deprive us of the opportunity to hear the usual terms. Let us tell you what spinal hemangioma is about the treatment, signs of hemangioma and the reasons for its occurrence.


Spinal hemangioma - what is it?

Vertebral hemangioma

Spinal hemangioma is, above all, a tumor. The tumor is vascular and hemangiomas can occur anywhere in the human body, wherever there are blood vessels. So, there are hemangiomas of the liver and brain.

There are no hemangiomas only where there are no blood vessels, that is, in the vitreous body inside the eyeball, and in the cavities of the joints, because the cartilage tissue is fed with the help of synovial fluid, and not with the help of blood vessels.

In the case of the spinal column, the hemangioma "hides" in the cancellous bone substance, in the body of the vertebra. , что гемангиома является доброкачественной опухолью, и никогда не перерождается в злокачественную. It is important to know that the hemangioma is a benign tumor, and never degenerates into a malignant one. That is, the end of “is”, characteristic of all tumors, does not at all tell its owner that “they have found cancer”.

A vertebral body hemangioma is often a completely random finding during an examination, for example, when performing computerized (CT) or magnetic resonance ( MRI ) tomography.

About the causes

Spinal hemangioma in adults, which was found, for example, a week ago, could have formed anytime, for example, one month, one year, or ten years before the examination. There is no difference between men and women in the relative frequency of occurrence of hemagnia: the chances are absolutely equal.

According to statistics, these tumors in the spine are found in every tenth person. Considering that in the spinal column there will be (7 + 12 + 5 = 24) vertebra in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine (the sacral bone and the rudimentary vertebrae of the tailbone do not take into account) , is regarded as 1: 240.

The causes of the appearance of vertebral hemangiomas are probably so numerous that medicine cannot name one. Most often referred to as a tendency to congenital appearance (genetic predisposition). Sometimes you can hear the version that a long stay in direct sunlight stimulates the appearance of these vascular tumors, but so far there is no convincing data for these data.

Therefore, it is impossible to say at the present stage of development of medicine what to do (or not do) to avoid the development of hematomas. Their causes are hidden, as are the factors at increased risk of development.

What is dangerous spinal hemangioma?

dangerous spinal hemangioma

a photo

The most important thing is the fact that hemangioma never metastasizes, since it is a truly benign tumor. However, it is capable of slow growth.

In that case, if the hemangioma is located inside the spongy bone tissue, it may threaten it (the bones) with destruction.

Recall that a malignant tumor with its growth grows through and destroys any organs and tissues that it encounters in its path. This character of growth is called infiltrative, or invasive.

Vertebra hemangioma is a slowly growing, benign tumor, so it does not germinate, but simply “gently pushes” the bone tissue to the sides. Since the spongy bone already has significantly less mechanical strength to angular loads, as a result, the osteoclast cells produce resorption or resorption of bone tissue on the sides of the hemangioma growth focus.

This leads to the fact that the supporting platform for the overlying intervertebral disc, which is the body of the vertebra, becomes brittle, hollow and loses strength and resistance to stress.

This can lead to fractures of the vertebral bodies, which can cause compression and even penetrating injury of the spinal cord by the resulting fragments when they are displaced.

Squeezing or compression of the spinal cord can occur without any fracture, for example, in the case when the hemangioma directly penetrated the central canal and began to squeeze the dura mater, causing tension of the nerve roots.

Symptoms of hemangioma in the vertebral body

It is appropriate to make some comparison between the vertebral hemangioma and Schmorl's hernia. Indeed, there are common signs between these formations:

  1. And hemangioma, and Schmorl's hernia destroys the bone tissue of the vertebra;
  2. Both formations are prone to increase, only with a hernia, the bone defect is limited by the thickness of the disc, and with hemangioma, it is, in principle, limited only by the rate of tumor growth;
  3. Both processes are asymptomatic.

Symptoms of hemangioma in the vertebral body Even the hemangioma of the cervical spine, which is the most “delicate” due to the large number of neurovascular bundles, the presence of vegetative centers and ganglia, is asymptomatic. Although, according to surveys, most often all the same affected the chest and lumbar.

Perhaps this is because just the cervical region is examined somewhat less with the use of magnetic resonance and CT scanners, than the lumbar and thoracic.

It is known that the largest number of studies of the spine falls on the lumbar region, since the “most vulnerable” zone is the transition zone of the last, fifth lumbar vertebra to the sacral bone and surrounding tissues.

In rare cases, with a large size of a vascular tumor, pain may occur. In addition to local back pain, destruction of the vertebra can occur, which is manifested by a decrease in its height. This phenomenon is called vertebral collapse.

Most often, the collapse of a vertebra is manifested by neurological symptoms - the appearance of radicular syndrome, or signs of damage to the spinal cord.

About radicular symptoms

The signs of radicular symptoms include the appearance of sharp, shooting pain when coughing, sneezing, straining, laughing, sharp movement.

Pain can occur suddenly, like an electric shock. Everyone knows the "lumbar chamber" or lumbago. This is a sharp pain, extending to the leg, which causes the patient to "freeze and gasp."

A secondary symptom of radicular symptoms is spasm of striated, skeletal muscles of the back. The fact is that the spine, which has been subjected to the pressure of a collapser who has lost the shape of a vertebra, swells.

But the spine does not "hang" in empty space. Edema extends to adjacent muscles. As a result, an episode of acute back pain occurs.

In fairness, it should be said that such pain is most often caused by discogenic radiculopathy, and the intervertebral disk, its protrusion and hernia, as well as osteochondrosis are to blame for it.

  • The probability of such a primary detection of the destruction of the vertebral body by the hemangioma is very small, averaging 0.1%, that is, one percent of the number of all detected patients with vertebral hemangioma.

Spinal Cord Damage

In case of a vertebral body fracture, there may be, as a compression of the spinal cord, a bone fragment that penetrated into the central canal, and in severe cases even penetrating damage of the spinal cord.

Since the cord of the spinal cord lies posterior to the vertebral bodies, the anterior sections of the spinal cord, as well as its lateral cords and columns, are most often subjected to compression. In these cases there will be a characteristic clinical picture corresponding to the lesion of the anterior horns of the spinal cord and anterior (ventral) roots. The patient will have:

  • Peripheral paralysis of muscles located below the level of the lesion, without loss of sensitivity and without pain;
  • With the defeat of the lateral cords there is a central paralysis on the side of compression, with increased muscle tone, increased tendon reflexes;
  • In the event that compression occurs in the thoracic region, then paralysis occurs in the leg on the affected side, in case of collapse of the cervical vertebra in the area above the cervical thickening, paralysis and arms and legs on one side occur;
  • It is also possible the loss of both pain and temperature sensitivity (while maintaining tactile) on the opposite side of the body.

Of course, the symptoms of such a pronounced lesion of the spinal cord are rare, but when weakness arises in the arm or leg, and sensitivity disorders, one should think not only about brain stroke, but also about spinal processes that can lead to similar symptoms.

Dangerous sizes of spinal hemangioma

Often patients ask what stage of hemangioma growth does not increase the risk of complications. In other words, they are interested in the dangerous size of the vascular coagula when the diagnosis is made of "spinal hemangioma".

These sizes are individual. If we talk about it, then if the tumor is up to 1 cm across, the danger is small, and if this size is exceeded, the risk of complications increases accordingly. But it depends on many reasons, for example:

  • From which department hemangioma is located. In a massive fourth lumbar vertebra, a size of 1 cm in a large man may turn out to be “tolerable,” and the same size in a fourth cervical, smaller vertebra in a girl may already be critical;
  • From the speed of its growth;
  • From localization in the body of the vertebra;
  • From the condition of the bone tissue. So, with osteoporosis , postmenopausal women have a higher risk of vertebral destruction than young men, even if they have a smaller hemangioma.

Thus, focusing on the size of the tumor for prognosis is not a very reliable matter: there are a lot of factors to be taken into consideration, and the doctor should deal with this.

In simple terms, if the tumor grows and occupies a volume equal to 50% of the vertebral body, then you need to think about the operation.

Treatment of spinal hemangioma - methods

Spinal hemangioma treatment

First of all, you need to state that all conservative methods, such as acupuncture and massage, visits to osteopaths and manual therapists are completely ineffective, and serve as an excellent way to take money from a frightened patient. Again, there is a complete analogy with the treatment of Schmorl's hernia: what is hidden by nature inside the vertebra can not be eliminated without getting inside.

Therefore, for the treatment of hemangioma, there is such a method of simple surgery as percutaneous puncture vertebroplasty.

To do this, under x-ray control, a special “bone glue” is introduced into the necessary place of the vertebra, which, while freezing, destroys the vessels and connects the cavity in the vertebra. It consists of cement, an antibacterial substance and a radiopaque material, for control. This method is very similar to the filling of a diseased tooth.

For the operation, the patient only needs to be stabbed in the back. This method is loved in all countries, because it is cheap, minimally invasive, without cuts and blood, and is painless.

After surgery, patients can move the very next day, and they perform it, most often, under local anesthesia: the anesthetic is sent forward, and the needle moves behind it.

Contraindications for spinal hemangioma

  • If there is a stable or small spinal hemangioma, are there any contraindications to vertebroplasty? - Yes. Do not need extra operations.

Since the method is very simple, cheap and effective, in medical institutions (especially paid ones), there was an excessive advertising of this method: who from the management of a private clinic for one injection does not want to put in the cash desk 130 000 rubles, and for each vertebra.

But the fact is that small hemangiomas, as well as stable ones, do not need to be touched. Contraindications are the stability, lack of growth and the small size of the tumor.

Of course, one should not forget about such contraindications as inflammatory and tuberculous lesion of the vertebra, old and old age with symptoms of multiple organ failure and other general contraindications.


In most cases, the vertebra hemangioma does not interfere with life at all. Hundreds and thousands of generations of people lived quietly with these vascular tumors, and died in old age from other causes.

And only the progress of visualizing diagnostic methods led to the fact that people began to know about these formations, to worry and try to take any action. In that case, if the tumor is small, and does not cause any discomfort, then you should not worry.

The only thing that can be done is to eliminate weight lifting and not gain weight.

2016-11-09 16:17:47
excellent article thanks for such clarification
2016-12-05 06:02:11
They thought banal chondrosis, but it turned out - hemangioma ... Horror. Now I don’t even know what to do - an operation, they say, while it’s not necessary, you just have to support the spine, prescribed Elbon. And I somehow feel uneasy - maybe it's better to remove it before it's too late?
2017-03-03 03:02:24
Elbona doesn’t exactly help here, the usual chondroprotector, for some reason they don’t even carry it to our pharmacies. Need an operation before it's too late.
2017-04-15 04:18:50
To not bring to the operation, and need chondroprotectors. Elbone is pretty strong, by the way, you're so vain. She injections, plus on pure glucosamine. Good help.

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