A juvenile angiofibroma is a benign, or noncancerous, tumor made of tissue fibers and blood vessels.
A juvenile angiofibroma usually develops in the back part of the nasal cavity. It occurs most often in males around the time of puberty. A juvenile angiofibroma does not spread to other areas of the body, and can almost always be cured with treatment.
Since this is a tumor made of blood vessels, the main symptom is nose bleeding. Another complaint may be nasal blockage and drainage. If there is significant pressure on the ear canal, then fluid buildup behind the eardrum leading to hearing loss can occur. In rare cases, the tumor may press on the eyes or the brain, causing cause vision changes or headaches.
The cause of this tumor is not known. It occurs almost exclusively in males around the time of puberty.
There is no way to prevent this condition.
Diagnosis begins with the history and physical examination. An abnormal mass can often be seen at the back of the nasal cavity. Imaging tests, such as a cranial CT or cranial MRI, are often done to show the tumor's size and location.
If the tumor is not removed, it can cause severe and even life-threatening bleeding. It may also get larger and destroy tissue around it as it grows.
A juvenile angiofibroma is not contagious and poses no risk to others.
Surgical removal of the tumor is the main treatment. A procedure called cerebral angiography is often done prior to surgery. In this procedure, contrast material is injected into the blood vessels. The contrast material will show the blood vessels that are supplying blood and oxygen to the tumor. These vessels can then be closed during the procedure. This helps to prevent excessive bleeding during surgery, and makes it easier to remove the tumor.
In some cases, radiation therapy or hormone medications may also be used to help treat or shrink the tumor.
Any surgery carries a risk of bleeding, infection, and allergic reaction to the anesthesia. Other rare side effects of this surgery include scarring and loss of feeling in the face. Cerebral angiography carries a risk of allergic reaction to the contrast material. Damage to normal arteries can also occur during the procedures, and result in excessive bleeding and other problems.
After successful removal of the tumor, the symptoms usually stop and the person is cured. In some cases, the tumor may come back and require further treatment.
After treatment, the person will need to see the healthcare provider regularly for a period of time to make sure the tumor hasn't come back. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported right away to the healthcare provider.