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Laryngoscope. 2009 Nov;119(11):2242-7. doi: 10.1002/lary.20666.

Segmental hemangiomas of the upper airway.

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  • 1Vascular Birthmark Institute, Beth Israel Medical Center and Roosevelt Hospital, New York, New York 10023, USA.



To characterize the anatomic distribution of segmental hemangiomas of the larynx and to describe indications for treatment modalities.


Retrospective chart review.


We performed a retrospective chart review of patients with cutaneous hemangiomas at a tertiary care center over a 4-year period. Only patients with upper airway hemangiomas were studied. We reviewed the anatomic distribution of hemangiomas within the upper airway and the treatment course of each patient.


Of 1,226 patients with cutaneous hemangiomas, 108 (9%) were segmental in distribution. There were 56 patients (52%) who had a V3 distribution pattern, and 16 patients (29%) with upper airway involvement. All of these patients had associated V3 or mandibular segmental hemangiomas. As with the cutaneous manifestation, the distribution of hemangioma within the upper airway was segmental. This included the following anatomic sites: oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx, intrinsic structures of the larynx, and subglottis. Many of these patients had diffuse mucosal involvement, including tracheal involvement. A total of 13 out of 16 patients underwent medical intervention, and seven also required surgical intervention. Medical management included systemic (12 patients) and intralesional (two patients) steroids. One patient received chemotherapy prior to referral. Surgical treatment included tracheostomy (four patients prior to referral) and laser ablation of subglottic involvement (total of four patients).


A high percentage of patients with V3 cutaneous hemangiomas (29%) will manifest with upper airway involvement, the distribution of which is segmental. Treatment should take this diffuse pattern of involvement into consideration.

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