Hemangioma in children

Your little one has a raised, strawberry-like birthmark, or hemangioma. It's actually a bundle of tiny blood vessels, and many hemangiomas disappear on their own by age 10. However, you should talk with our doctors who specialize in children's vascular anomalies if your child’s birthmark is large, painful, in a worrisome location, if there are multiple birthmarks or if it doesn't go away on its own. Our multidisciplinary team can determine if treatment, such as medicines to help it go away faster, are needed.

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A hemangioma is a vascular anomaly and occurs in about one in 10 children. They can appear anywhere on the body, including internally, particularly in the liver. External birthmarks like this often appear on the face. If a hemangioma is near the eye, it can interfere with vision. They may also be susceptible to sores. We strongly recommend any infant with a hemangioma have close follow-up care with his or her primary care provider, being seen in two-week intervals instead of the typical four-week time frame to better evaluate how fast the hemangioma is growing and if treatment may be needed.

Your child's care begins here

If your child has a concerning hemangioma, it is time to talk with our multidisciplinary team, which has a core group of providers with experience in vascular anomalies. By working together, our experts from pediatric hematology/oncology, plastic surgery, dermatology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, otolaryngology (ENT), surgery, radiology and interventional radiology can come up with a plan for your child's comfort and confidence. 

The size, location and growth rate of the hemangioma help you (and us) arrive at the solution. Large or poorly located hemangiomas (such as on eyelids) can cause vision complications and self-consciousness. Treatment may include surveillance or medicines that can help hemangiomas go away faster. In some cases, surgery may be necessary. Your child is in good hands with our pediatric plastic surgeons, general surgeons or neurosurgeons.

Treatments we provide

Corticosteroid medicine
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Steroid medicine, such as corticosteroid, helps shrink the size of a hemangioma. It is now more commonly reserved for hemangiomas that do not appear to respond to propranolol or for complicated hemangiomas with other associated symptoms (such as difficulties breathing). It can be taken by mouth or injected into the hemangioma.

Hemangioma surgery
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Laser or surgical removal can shrink or remove blood vessels of hemangiomas.

Propranolol therapy
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Propranolol therapy is now the first-line treatment for problematic hemangiomas. It can be given by mouth two or three times a day.