Lymphangioma of the small bowel mesentery: A case report and review of the literature

World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2012 Nov 21;18(43):6328-32. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i43.6328. [Link]

Suthiwartnarueput W, Kiatipunsodsai S, Kwankua A, Chaumrattanakul U.

Worapop Suthiwartnarueput, Department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Thammasat University, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand.


Lymphangioma is a rare benign condition characterized by proliferation of lymphatic spaces. It is usually found in the head and neck of affected children. Lymphangioma of the small-bowel mesentery is rare, having been reported for less than 1% of all lymphangiomas. Importantly, it can cause fatal complications such as volvulus or involvement of the main branch of the mesenteric arteries, requiring emergency surgery. Moreover, the gross and histopathologic findings may resemble benign multicystic mesothelioma and lymphangiomyoma. Immunohistochemical study for factor VIII-related antigen, D2-40, calretinin and human melanoma black-45 (HMB-45) are essential for diagnosis. Factor VIII-related antigen and D2-40 are positive in lymphangioma but negative in benign multicystic mesothelioma. HMB-45 shows positive study in the smooth-muscle cells around the lymphatic spaces of the lymphangiomyoma. We report a case of small-bowel volvulus induced by mesenteric lymphangioma in a 2-year-and-9-mo-old boy who presented with rapid abdominal distension and vomiting. The abdominal computed tomography scan showed a multiseptated mass at the right lower quadrant with a whirl-like small-bowel dilatation, suggestive of a mesenteric cyst with midgut volvulus. The intraoperative findings revealed a huge, lobulated, yellowish pink, cystic mass measuring 20 cm × 20 cm × 10 cm, that was originated from the small bowel mesentery with small-bowel volvulus and small-bowel dilatation. Cut surface of the mass revealed multicystic spaces containing a milky white fluid. The patient underwent tumor removal with small-bowel resection and end-to-end anastomosis. Microscopic examination revealed that the cystic walls were lined with flat endothelial cells and comprised of smooth muscle in the walls. The flat endothelial cells were positive for factor VIII-related antigen and D2-40 but negative for calretinin. HMB-45 showed negative study in the smooth-muscle cells around the lymphatic spaces. Thus, the diagnosis was lymphangioma of the small bowel mesentery with associated small bowel volvulus.