ASK AN EXPERT
Got a question about a health story in the news or a health topic? Here's your chance to get an answer. Send us your questions about general health topics, diet and fitness and mental health. If your question is chosen, it could be featured on CNN.com's health page with an answer from one of our health experts, or by a participant in the CNNhealth community.




* CNN encourages you to contribute a question. By submitting a question, you agree to the following terms found below.
You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. By submitting your question, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your questions(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statment.
Thank you for your question!

It will be reviewed and considered for posting on CNNHealth.com. Questions and comments are moderated by CNN and will not appear until after they have been reviewed and approved. Unfortunately, because of the voume of questions we receive, not all can be posted.

Submit another question or Go back to CNNHealth.com

Read answers from our experts: Living Well | Diet & Fitness | Mental Health | Conditions
updated September 21, 2010

Hemangioma

Filed under: Beauty & Plastic Surgery
A hemangioma — once known as a strawberry hemangioma — is a birthmark that appears as a bright red patch or a nodule of extra blood vessels in the skin. It grows during the first year of life, and then recedes over time. A hemangioma is usually benign and isn't associated with other medical conditions.

Most often hemangioma doesn't require treatment. By age 10, a child who had a hemangioma in infancy usually has little visible trace of the growth.

©1998-2013 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). Terms of use.
Read this article on Mayoclinic.com.

A hemangioma, which is sometimes referred to as infantile hemangioma, may be present at birth but more often appears during the first several weeks of life. It starts out as a flat red mark anywhere on the body, most often on the face, scalp or back of the neck. Usually a child has only one mark, but some children may have more than one, particularly if they're part of a multiple birth.

During your child's first year, the red mark becomes a spongy mass that protrudes from the skin — often growing rapidly to 2 or 3 inches (about 5 to 7.6 centimeters) in diameter. The hemangioma then stops growing and enters a rest phase. Eventually, it begins to slowly disappear.

Half of all hemangiomas resolve by age 5, and nearly all hemangiomas are resolved by age 10. Although the color of the birthmark also fades, faint — but permanent — discoloration of the skin or residual extra skin may remain.

When to see a doctor
Your child's doctor will monitor the hemangioma during routine checkups. Contact your child's doctor between visits if the hemangioma bleeds, forms a sore or bruise, becomes firm, appears infected, or grows suddenly over one or two days.

There are other blood vessel growths that can be present at birth that aren't true hemangiomas, such as port wine stains and vascular formations that may require medical attention. You may need to consult a dermatologist if you're concerned your child's birthmark isn't an infantile hemangioma.

©1998-2013 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). Terms of use.
Read this article on Mayoclinic.com.

A hemangioma consists of an abnormally dense group of extra blood vessels. It's not clear what causes the blood vessels to group together, although some research suggests a link between hemangiomas and certain proteins produced by the placenta during pregnancy.

©1998-2013 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). Terms of use.
Read this article on Mayoclinic.com.

Hemangiomas occur more often in:

  • Females
  • Premature babies
  • White infants

©1998-2013 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). Terms of use.
Read this article on Mayoclinic.com.

Occasionally, a hemangioma can break down and develop a sore. This can lead to pain, bleeding, scarring or infection. Depending on where the hemangioma is situated, it may interfere with your child's vision, breathing, hearing or elimination, but this is rare.

©1998-2013 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). Terms of use.
Read this article on Mayoclinic.com.

A hemangioma is diagnosed based on appearance. Diagnostic tests aren't usually needed.

©1998-2013 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). Terms of use.
Read this article on Mayoclinic.com.

The majority of hemangiomas never need any form of treatment. Treatment of hemangiomas is somewhat controversial. Some parents feel that hemangioma treatment is necessary because the marks can be disfiguring and may cause social or psychological problems. Doctors, however, may be hesitant to treat a hemangioma that isn't causing physical problems because hemangiomas usually fade gradually without treatment, and because treatments have potential side effects. If the growth interferes with your child's vision or causes other problems, treatment options may include:

  • Laser surgery. Lasers can stop the growth of a hemangioma. Sometimes lasers can be used to remove a hemangioma or treat sores on a hemangioma that won't heal. The risks are potentially serious and include pain, infection, bleeding, scarring and changes in skin color.
  • Corticosteroid medications. Corticosteroids can be injected, given by mouth or applied to the skin. These medications are most effective when they're given during the growth phase. They're used to stop the growth of the hemangioma and sometimes reverse it. Long-term or repeated treatment may be needed. The risks are potentially serious and include poor growth, high blood sugar, high blood pressure and clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye (cataract).

Research to find other treatments with fewer side effects is ongoing. Some newer, though still experimental, treatments include beta blockers, interferon alfa and topical immune suppressants.

If you're considering treatment for your child's hemangioma, weigh the pros and cons with your child's doctor. Remember, most infantile hemangiomas disappear on their own during childhood.

©1998-2013 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). Terms of use.
Read this article on Mayoclinic.com.

Please wait while we retrieve your data
Please wait while we retrieve the data

MayoClinic.com Features

Ask a Question

Want to know more about this article or other health related issues? Ask your question and we'll post some each week for CNN.com reader to discuss or for our experts to weight in.

Ask a Question button
advertisement
Quick Job Search :
keyword(s):
enter city: