Department of Surgery, University Hospital K.U.Leuven, Heverlee-Leuven, Belgium.
In this study, we will investigate the importance of MRI in the diagnosis and treatment of diffuse lymphangioma. Twenty-nine patients with lymphangiomas were treated at the U.Z. Leuven between March 1988 and September 1997. They all underwent a total surgical excision of the lesion. A global recurrence rate of 34.45% corresponds with a recurrence rate of 30.76% found in literature. In our study, a remarkable difference in recurrence rates is noticed between cystic hygroma (5/19 patients or 26.39%) and the more diffuse types of lymphangioma (5/10 patients or 50%). On three patients, preoperative MRI was performed. All these illustrate the important role of MRI in the diagnosis of lymphangioma, namely the characteristic appearance of the lesions on T1- and T2-weighted images and the better visualization of the lymphangioma extent. In line with the high recurrence rates of diffuse lymphangiomas and the advantages of MRI of these lesions, the role of MRI in the treatment of diffuse lymphangiomas is discussed.
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