Juvenile angiofibroma

Juvenile angiofibroma is a noncancerous growth of the back of the nose or upper throat.

Causes

Juvenile angiofibroma is not very common. It is usually found in adolescent boys. The tumor contains many blood vessels, spreads within the area in which it started (locally invasive), and can cause bone damage.

Symptoms

  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Easy bruising
  • Frequent or repeated nosebleeds
  • Hearing loss
  • Nasal discharge, usually bloody
  • Prolonged bleeding
  • Stuffy nose

Exams and Tests

The doctor may see the angiofibroma when examining the upper throat.

Tests that may be done include:

  • Arteriogram to see the blood supply to the growth
  • CT scan of the head
  • MRI scan of the head
  • X-ray

Biopsy is generally not recommended due to the high risk of bleeding.

Treatment

Treatment is required if the angiofibroma is growing larger, blocking the airways, or causing repeated nosebleeds. In some cases, no treatment is necessary.

Surgery may be needed to remove the tumor. Removal is often difficult because the tumor is not enclosed and may have spread deeply to other areas.

A procedure called embolization may be done to prevent the tumor from bleeding. The procedure may correct the nosebleeds by itself, or it may be followed by surgery to remove the tumor.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Although not cancerous, angiofibromas may continue to grow. Some may disappear on their own.

It is common for the tumor to return after surgery.

Possible Complications

  • Anemia
  • Pressure on the brain (rare)
  • Spread of the tumor to the nose, sinuses, and other structures

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you often have nosebleeds.

Prevention

There is no known way to prevent this condition.

Alternative Names

Nasal tumor; Angiofibroma - juvenile; Benign nasal tumor