Hemangiomas are tumors that occur in the bones of the spine, often found in the back above and just below the waist. They are benign, which means they do not tend to get worse or spread to other tissues. Hemangiomas usually only involve one vertebra (spinal bone).


The most common symptom is pain, although not all of these tumors produce symptoms. Pain is typically the result of a large hemangioma involving the entire vertebra. The tumor may also have caused the bone to collapse and become shorter. If the collapsing is severe, the spinal cord or nerves will cause severe pain, which can also cause a loss of ability to control the legs, bowel or bladder.

Causes and Risk Factors

These usually occur in mid-life. They are found in women more often than men.


These tumors may be found during an evaluation for back pain. They typically have a honeycomb appearance on X-rays.


Treatments range from observation to radiation to surgery. Which option to use will depend on how severe the symptoms are and what the neurologic effects are. Management of this condition must take into account the generous blood supply of the tumor.