Interventions for orbital lymphangioma

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019 May 15;5(5):CD013000. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD013000.pub2.


Background: Orbital lymphangiomas are a subset of localized vascular and lymphatic malformations, which most commonly occur in the head and neck region. Orbital lymphangiomas typically present in the first decade of life with signs of ptosis, proptosis, restriction of ocular motility, compressive optic neuropathy, and disfigurement. Therefore, early and effective treatment is crucial to preserving vision. Due to proximity to vital structures, such as the globe, optic nerve, and extraocular muscles, treatment for these lesions is complicated and includes a large array of approaches including observation, sclerotherapy, systemic therapy, and surgical excision. Of these options, there is no clear gold standard of treatment.

Objectives: To assess the evidence supporting medical and surgical interventions for the reduction/treatment of orbital lymphangiomas in children and young adults.

Search methods: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (which contains the Cochrane Eyes and Vision Trials Register) (2018, Issue 5); Ovid MEDLINE;; PubMed; Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature Database (LILACS); and the World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP). We did not use any date or language restrictions in the electronic search for trials. We last searched the electronic databases on 22 May 2018.

Selection criteria: We planned to include randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing at least two of the following interventions with each other for the treatment of orbital lymphangiomas: observation; sildenafil therapy; sirolimus therapy; sclerotherapy; surgery (partial or complete resection). We planned to include trials that enrolled children and adults up to 32 years of age, based on a prior clinical trial protocol. There were no restrictions regarding location or demographic factors.

Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently screened the titles, abstracts, and full articles to assess their suitability for inclusion in this review. No risk of bias or data extraction was performed because we did not find any trials for inclusion. If there had been RCTs, two authors would have assessed the risk of bias and abstracted data independently with discrepancies being settled by consensus or consultation with a third review author.

Main results: There were no RCTs that compared any two of the mentioned interventions (medical or surgical) for treating orbital lymphangiomas in children and young adults.

Authors' conclusions: Currently, there are no published RCTs of orbital lymphangioma treatments. Without these types of studies, conclusions cannot be drawn regarding the effectiveness of the medical and surgical treatment options for patients with orbital lymphangiomas. The presence of only case reports and case series on orbital lymphangiomas makes it clear that RCTs are needed to address the differences between these options and help guide treatment plans. Such trials would ideally compare outcomes between individuals randomized to one of the following treatment options: observation, sclerotherapy, systemic sirolimus therapy, systemic sildenafil therapy, and surgical excision.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Lymphangioma* / drug therapy
  • Lymphangioma* / surgery
  • Orbital Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Orbital Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic