What is a hemangioma?
A hemangioma is a type of birthmark. It is the most common benign (noncancerous) tumor of the skin. Hemangiomas may be present at birth (faint red mark) or may appear in the first months after birth. A hemangioma is also known as a port wine stain, strawberry hemangioma, and salmon patch. About 83 percent of hemangiomas occur in the head or neck area. Hemangiomas occur five times more often in females than in males.
Most hemangiomas are not usually present at birth or are very faint red marks. Shortly after birth, however, they grow rapidly - often faster than the child's growth. Over time, they become smaller (involute) and lighter in color. The process of involution may take several years.
Treatment for hemangiomas
Treatment for hemangiomas depends upon their size, location, and severity. Treatment is usually not recommended for small, noninvasive hemangiomas, since they will become smaller (involute) on their own. However, hemangiomas that cause bleeding problems, feeding or breathing difficulties, growth disturbances, or impairment of vision may require medical or surgical intervention.
Treatment may include the following:
- Steroid medications
- Embolization of the blood vessels (injection of material into the blood vessels to block the blood inflow)
- Laser or surgical removal