Understanding vulval lymphangioma circumscriptum

Lymphangioma circumscriptum (LC) is characterised by abnormal dilation of the lymphatic vessels in skin and subcutaneous tissue. These lymphatic vessels don’t communicate with normal lymphatic vessels.

Common areas to see LC include the mucosal surfaces of the mouth, tongue, armpits, groin, chest and abdomen, and more uncommonly, the vulva. Diagnosis is made by a doctor via examination and possibly a biopsy to rule out other conditions (warts,

Causes of lymphangioma circumscriptum

It’s not known why LC develops. The physical cause of symptoms is lymphatic fluid being received by the muscle-coated lymphatic cisterns from surrounding tissue, but not draining back into the lymphatic system.

The cisterns dilate and pulsate, pushing lymph through channels that feed into the thin lymphatics of the skin, causing ballooning of the skin.

LC is also known as microcystic lymphatic malformation.

Treatment for LC

Surgery is a common medical treatment, however, is not appropriate for everyone with LC. Management may be achieved using sclerotherapy (irritating the vessel with saline solution to close it over), cauterisation, fulguration, and radiofrequency, laser and light-based therapies.

Investigations into the underlying causes of this lymphatic dysfunction may be useful, via an appropriate practitioner. Some treatments may prove useful to strengthen and support normalisation of the lymphatic system, for example, herbal medicine or acupuncture.

References​1,2​

  1. 1.
    Phukan J, Jalan S, Pal S, Sinha A. Lymphangioma circumscriptum of the vulva: Report of a rare case. J Mid-life Health. Published online 2015:91. doi:10.4103/0976-7800.158968
  2. 2.
    Omprakash H, Rajendran S. Lymphangioma circumscriptum (microcystic lymphatic malformation): Palliative coagulation using radiofrequency current. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. Published online 2008:85. doi:10.4103/0974-2077.44165


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Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)
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