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Juvenile angiofibroma

Definition

Juvenile angiofibroma is a noncancerous growth of the back of the nose or upper throat.

Alternative Names

Nasal tumor; Angiofibroma - juvenile; Benign nasal tumor

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Juvenile angiofibroma is not very common. It is usually found in adolescent boys. The tumor contains many blood vessels, spreads within the area in which it started (locally invasive), and can cause bone damage.

Symptoms

Signs and tests

The doctor may see the angiofibroma when examining the upper throat.

Tests that may be done include:

Biopsy is generally not recommended due to the high risk of bleeding.

Treatment

Treatment is required if the angiofibroma is growing larger, blocking the airways, or causing repeated nosebleeds. In some cases, no treatment is necessary.

Surgery may be needed to remove the tumor. Removal is often difficult because the tumor is not enclosed and may have spread deeply to other areas.

A procedure called embolization may be done to prevent the tumor from bleeding. The procedure may correct the nosebleeds by itself, or it may be followed by surgery to remove the tumor.

Expectations (prognosis)

Although not cancerous, angiofibromas may continue to grow. Some may disappear on their own.

It is common for the tumor to return after surgery.

Complications

  • Anemia
  • Pressure on the brain (rare)
  • Spread of the tumor to the nose, sinuses, and other structures

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if you often have nosebleeds.

Prevention

There is no known way to prevent this condition.

References

Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 4th ed. St Louis, Mo: Mosby; 2005.

Anslow P. Ear, nose and throat radiology. In: Adam A, Dixon AK, eds. Grainger & Allison's Diagnostic Radiology. 5th ed. New York, NY: Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 62.


Review Date: 9/9/2009
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Seth Schwartz, MD, MPH, Otolaryngologist, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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