Hemangiomas: What Are They?
Strawberry nevus, Cavernous hemangioma
A hemangioma is a bulbous collection of excess blood vessels in the skin. The growth, which is the most common tumor infants and children experience, can first be noticed as a bright red, flat patch of skin. About 30% of the time, a child with a hemangioma was born with this condition. Though it is not quite clear why these red-purple tumors appear in some children, genetics may play a role in their development. According to the Mayo Clinic, babies who are most at risk are female, Caucasian, and premature. Often, the growth appears on the face, head, or neck. The hemangioma may be present in superficial, deep, or throughout many layers of skin.
The Growth and Effects of a Hemangioma
Otherwise known as a strawberry mark, a hemangioma may grow actively during the first year of a child’s life yet recede in size with age. There are a number of ways to treat a hemangioma. If the lesion is present within the upper layers of skin, it is likely that the growth will disappear on its own around prepubescence. If the growth penetrates deeper layers of the skin, it may be preferable to remove the growth. Sometimes, the cluster of blood vessels can affect functions of the face such as sight, breathing, and eating. Additionally, the lesion may become ruptured or infected through injury. It is important to learn how the child is affected as he or she ages as a hemangioma may create negative social consequences in the young person’s life.
Treatment for the aftermath of rapid blood vessel proliferation can range from non-invasive and minimally-invasive techniques to surgical methods of removal. Steroids can be taken orally or injected into the affected site to treat the growth. Typically, this method will not remove the tumor but rather decrease the speed in which it forms. A second method that lessens inflammation is the use of compression articles of clothing.
Similar to sclerotherapy where a solution is injected into problem blood vessels to reduce their size, embolization can be performed to create a similar effect. Though this may not create long-term results, the procedure is useful before a more invasive method such as surgery to minimize bleeding.
If a more extensive procedure is required to treat the hemangioma, the mass may need to be surgically cut from the skin. This can be done through a scalpel surgery or laser procedure, depending on the type and location of the growth.
Dr. Batniji practices cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the face at his Newport Beach practice. One of his specialties is the removal of these benign tumors, and he is able to improve or preserve the function of facial features while creating natural results. Call the doctor today at 949-650-8882 to arrange an appointment for the assessment of treatment of your child’s hemangioma.