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Do you know what a vertebral angioma is?

Most people think that a vertebral angioma is a malignant tumor but in reality they are a malformation of the blood vessels. Therefore, they are non-cancerous lesions that usually develop in the thorax part of the spine. In most cases it affects women more.


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In most cases, they do not have symptoms and do not usually require treatment. Many times they are detected when the person is checked for another disease, its origin is still unknown or the causes that can produce it, but the most accepted theory is that angiogenesis is involved in the formation of angiomas. 

If it produces certain symptoms such as back pain, numbness in the legs or paralysis, you should see the doctor as soon as possible so he can give you the treatment you need. Normally angiomas do not cause problems, such as causing a vertebral fracture but when they grow, expand and cause more damage to the surrounding structures, it can damage the spinal cord. If the angioma bleeds, it can cause a bruise that compresses the marrow.


For the diagnosis of a vertebral angioma, image tests such as the scanner and magnetic resonance are usually used since they are the best way to see them. Therefore, these imaging tests are indispensable in the diagnosis.

Most angiomas have their own characteristics that define them, however, those that are more aggressive may not have these characteristics. This situation complicates the work of specialists because they can easily confuse the angioma with another type of vertebral tumor.

When a situation occurs in which the type of tumor cannot easily be distinguished by imaging techniques, a biopsy is usually used to study the tissue and make the correct diagnosis.

Today we have different treatments for those less aggressive angiomas. Within these techniques we highlight:

  • Radiation therapy: this technique involves the application of X-rays directly at the problem site. The rays destroy the hemangioma cells and can stop their progression.
  • Embolization of arteries: it consists of preventing the blood from reaching the angioma. Particles formed of sponge or gelatin are injected through a catheter that will block the artery and the flow of blood to the angioma.
  • Alcohol injections or vertebroplasty: involves injecting cement into the damaged vertebra.

For the more aggressive the patient can undergo surgery where the area of the column is decompressed.