Diffuse, encasing lymphangioma of the supraglottis

Am J Otolaryngol. 2016 Jan-Feb;37(1):41-3. doi: 10.1016/j.amjoto.2015.09.009. Epub 2015 Sep 10.


Background: Lymphangioma of the head and neck is considered a rare congenital tumor with the vast majority presenting before two years of age. Surgical excision and sclerosing therapy using OK-432 are recognized as effective treatment options for the majority of these lesions; however, treatment options of laryngeal lesions are less straightforward due to the risk of airway compromise and the desire to maintain the integrity of a functional larynx. We present the case of a four month old male who presented with chief complaint of inspiratory stridor after a single episode of pneumonia. His clinical presentation, flexible fiberoptic laryngoscopic examination, and operative evaluation were consistent with a lymphangioma completely encasing the epiglottis and arytenoids and isolated to the supraglottis. This report outlines our approach to workup and treatment of this rare lesion.

Method: Case report of presentation, diagnosis and treatment is presented.

Results: A four-month old male presented to ENT clinic with inspiratory stridor, worsened with crying, without frank respiratory distress. History and initial examination was consistent with airway obstruction. Flexible fiberoptic laryngoscopy showed laryngomalacia as well as diffuse and symmetric supraglottic edema. Surgical evaluation identified edema limited to the supraglottis, notably along the ventral surface of the epiglottis and dorsal surface of bilateral arytenoids. Biopsies were taken and immunohistochemical staining was performed with strong positivity for D2-40 and CD31, supporting the diagnosis of isolated lymphangioma of the supraglottis. Treatment was performed through multiple point spot welding with a fiber equipped CO2 LASER (OmniGuide TM) at 5 watt continuous power.

Conclusion: Isolated supraglottic lymphangioma was diagnosed via direct laryngoscopy, with pathologic and immunohistochemical confirmation. Carbon dioxide laser spot welding technique was used with excellent clinical improvement in stridor. Clinical improvement is sustained after 6 months follow-up.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Airway Obstruction / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / congenital
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Laryngoscopy
  • Laser Therapy
  • Lymphangioma / congenital
  • Lymphangioma / diagnosis*
  • Lymphangioma / surgery
  • Male
  • Respiratory Sounds / etiology