Juvenile angiofibroma

Alternative names
Nasal tumor; Angiofibroma - juvenile; Benign nasal tumor

Juvenile angiofibroma is a benign growth of the back of the nose or upper throat (nasopharynx) that contains many blood vessels.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Juvenile angiofibroma is relatively uncommon. It typically is discovered in adolescent boys and is associated with nasal obstruction a visible nasal mass and nosebleeds (epistaxis). The tumor is locally invasive and capable of eroding bone.


  • nosebleeds (epistaxis)       o frequent       o repeated  
  • nasal congestion, difficulty breathing through the nose  
  • nasal discharge, usually blood tinged  
  • hearing loss  
  • prolonged bleeding, bruising easily - episodes are frequent or occur repeatedly (recurrent)

Signs and tests
Angiofibroma may be visible on examination of the nasopharynx.

  • An X-ray or a CT scan of the head (nose area) confirms the presence of angiofibroma.  
  • Nasal mucosal biopsy indicates tumor or polyp.


Treatment is required if the angiofibroma is enlarging, obstructing the airway, or causing chronic nosebleeds. In some cases, no treatment is necessary.

Surgical treatment includes removal of the tumor. Removal is often difficult because the tumor is unencapsulated and may be deeply invasive. Recurrence of the tumor after surgical resection is common.

Clotting of the vessels of the tumor (embolization) may cause the tumor to scar and stop bleeding. Embolization is performed by injecting a substance into the blood vessel to block blood flow through it. Embolization may be adequate by itself to correct the nosebleeds, or it may be followed by surgery to remove the tumor.

Expectations (prognosis)

Although not cancerous, angiofibromas may continue to expand. They may disappear spontaneously. There is a high rate of recurrence after surgical removal.


  • expansion of the angiofibroma to the nose, the sinuses, and other structures  
  • anemia from chronic blood loss  
  • pressure on the brain from expansion of the angiofibroma (rare)

Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if repeated or frequent nosebleeds occur.

There is no known way to prevent this condition.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Martin A. Harms, M.D.

Medical Encyclopedia

  A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | 0-9

All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.