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Health Information For Parents
A hemangioma (hee-man-jee-OH-muh) is a type of birthmark that happens when a tangled group of blood vessels grows in or under the skin.
Because hemangiomas grow and change, they’re called tumors, but they’re not a kind of cancer. A hemangioma will not spread to other places in the body or to other people.
Some hemangiomas look like a rubbery red “strawberry” patch of skin, while others may cause a skin bulge that has a blue tint.
Most hemangiomas grow larger for several months, then shrink slowly. A hemangioma can cause problems if it affects body functions (such as vision and breathing), bleeds frequently, or breaks through the skin (called ulcerating).
Doctors don’t know what causes hemangiomas. Hemangiomas may run in families, but no genetic cause has been found.
Hemangiomas are more common in babies who:
A baby can have more than one hemangioma.
Just having a hemangioma doesn’t put a baby at increased risk for health problems. But hemangiomas can happen in some syndromes (a syndrome is a combination of signs and symptoms that make up a particular health condition).
A hemangioma of the skin is usually recognized by its appearance. Depending on the hemangioma’s type (congenital or infantile) and location, more testing might be needed to learn more about the hemangioma.
Rarely, a hemangioma can grow in an organ inside the body, such as the kidneys, lungs, liver, or brain, where it can’t be seen.
Often, a hemangioma will shrink (or “involute”) without treatment until little or nothing of the blood vessel tangle remains, usually by the time a child is 10 years old. So most hemangiomas are not treated.
Treatment is recommended, though, if a hemangioma:
How it’s treated depends on the type of hemangioma and other details. Treatment options, which may be used one at a time or in combination, include:
A hemangioma on a baby’s face or head can create a cosmetic (appearance) problem. Doctors understand how much appearance can matter, and will work with parents to determine whether it’s better to treat a baby’s hemangioma or to let it go away on its own.
Other kids and adults may be curious about your child’s hemangioma. Telling them that hemangiomas are birthmarks that eventually go away will take care of most questions.
After a hemangioma goes away on its own, it may leave behind some stretched skin. Cosmetic (plastic) surgery might be needed to remove the extra skin. Laser treatment can treat skin discoloration.
A hemangioma is a growth of tangled blood vessels. A congenital hemangioma is one that a baby is born with. They’re usually a bluish or purple circle or oval.
A hemangioma is a growth of tangled blood vessels. An infantile hemangioma becomes visible in the first few weeks after birth.
Birthmarks that babies are born with, or develop soon after birth, are mostly harmless and many even go away on their own, but sometimes they’re associated with certain health problems.
When Anna was born, she developed red spots that her parents learned were hemangiomas, benign birthmarks that she eventually outgrew. Her mother tells her story.
Birthmarks, also known as hemangiomas, get their name for one reason: They are marks on the skin of a lot of newborn babies! Find out more about birthmarks in this article for kids.
CLOVES syndrome is a very rare genetic disorder that causes vascular, skin, spinal, and bone or joint abnormalities.
For most kids, these birthmarks are no big deal â they’re just part of who they are. Read about port-wine stains, how to care for them, and, if necessary, what treatments are available.
Neurocutaneous syndromes are genetic disorders that lead to tumor growth in various parts of the body. Learn how to maximize the quality of life for children with these diseases.
A venous malformation (VM) is a place in the body where veins haven’t grown the right way. VMs can be difficult to treat.
An arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is an abnormal connection between an artery and a vein. Large AVMs or multiple AVMs usually needs medical treatment.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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