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What are Hemangiomas?

Hemangiomas are bright red birthmarks that appear at birth or during the first couple of weeks of life. They appear as rubbery bumps that are made up of excess blood vessels in the skin and can occur anywhere on the body. They tend to occur more commonly in female babies who are Caucasian and born prematurely. In some cases, hemangiomas run in families, though they can also appear spontaneously.

For infantile hemangiomas, treatment is not usually necessary, as they fade over time, and are usually healed by the age of 10. However, if a hemangioma ulcerates, is large, and/or interferes with your child’s breathing, seeing, or other functions, treatment may be required.

Signs and symptoms of hemangiomas include:

  • At first, a hemangioma may appear as a red birthmark or stain on the skin, but will slowly begin to protrude upwards from the skin
  • They may grow rapidly within the first several weeks of life
  • They have a deep-red or blue-purple appearance.

Who is a Good Candidate for Hemangioma Treatment?

If your child has a hemangioma that affects their everyday functions, is in a high-risk location (nose,  eyelid, lip, genitals, spine, ears), is large,  or begins to bleed, forms a sore, or looks infected, you should contact our office to schedule a consultation. Our dermatologists will work with you to properly assess and diagnose your child’s hemangioma, as well as create a treatment plan for the best possible results.

What to Expect During Hemangioma Treatment?

In order to diagnose a hemangioma, your dermatologist will do a visual inspection or physical examination. If sores are present or the growth appears to be abnormal, a biopsy may be performed. For unsightly hemangiomas or those that negatively affect your child’s vision, breathing, hearing, or eating treatment options include:

  • Beta-blocker drugs: For small hemangiomas, a gel that contains the drug timolol may be applied to the skin. More severe infantile hemangiomas may be treated with an oral solution of propranolol. Treatment usually needs to be continued until the child is one year of age.
  • Corticosteroids: If your child does not respond to beta-blocker treatments, corticosteroids are an option. These medications may be injected into the nodule, applied to the skin, or taken by mouth.
  • Laser surgery: Sometimes, laser surgery can be used to eliminate small, thin hemangiomas or treat sores on a hemangioma.
  • Surgery: For some hemangiomas, surgery may be considered.

Following Hemangioma Treatment

Following hemangioma treatment, your child’s hemangioma should shrink in size, and/or symptoms should lessen. Be sure to follow your dermatologist’s instructions on how to properly care for the treatment site during and after treatment for the best possible outcomes. Do not hesitate to contact our office if you have any post-treatment questions or concerns.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are concerned with your child’s hemangioma, contact HMGS Dermatology today. We will be happy to assist you in scheduling a consultation with one of our skilled Board Certified Pediatric Dermatologists to get started with treatment.

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