Babies being born with some type of birthmark are more common than many parents realize. An estimated 10% of all babies have some sort of noticeable birthmark. One type, known as an Infantile Hemangioma, occurs in 5-10% of all newborn babies. Vascular birthmarks like these involve extra collections of blood vessels in the skin. The vascular specialists at Vascular Birthmark Institute of New York regularly diagnose these birthmarks and provide treatment when necessary.
What is an infantile hemangioma?
Infantile hemangiomas are non-cancerous stem cell tumors that usually appear as bright red bumps or patches, or bluish lumps, and can occur anywhere on a baby’s skin. At least 30% of the time, hemangiomas are visible at birth as a small, red spot. In other cases, they appear between two weeks to two months of age and grow quite rapidly.
The common time for proliferation, or time the hemangioma spends growing, is faster during the first month. Approximately 80% of infantile hemangiomas stop growing by five months of age, but they can grow until age five or six. After a period of plateau, usually several months, they can slowly begin to disappear. Most hemangiomas have completely vanished by age ten.
Hemangiomas never occur in adults and seem to affect girls more frequently than boys. They can develop anywhere on the body, but the overwhelming majority of the time they involve the neck and head, particularly around the lips, cheek, nose, forehead and close to the eyes. Most are small, although in a few cases some have grown large.
Does My Child’s Hemangioma Warrant Intervention?
In most cases, infantile hemangiomas are harmless and best left to grow and subside on their own while monitored by your child’s doctor. In cases where the hemangioma ulcerates or forms a painful sore, this can require treatment for the child’s comfort. This type of hemangioma can also leave a scar, which can present cosmetic issues later if in a sensitive area. The areas most probable to scar from a hemangioma that gets an ulcer include the lips, nose, ears, cheeks and eyelids.
Hemangiomas can also develop in areas that by their simple location present difficulties. For example, a hemangioma near the eye may affect vision by compromising the eyelid or putting pressure on the eye or related components. Any large hemangiomas should be examined by a doctor or vascular specialist to determine if any risk exists. Hemangiomas of any size on the head, face or neck should especially be evaluated for potential problems.
In rare occurrences, babies with large infantile hemangiomas on the head or neck can have one or more other birth defects. Also, a large hemangioma on the lower back can indicate some spinal cord abnormalities.
The specialist team at Vascular Birthmark Institute in New York City can evaluate your child’s hemangioma and determine if any treatments or interventions are necessary. Call us today at 212-434-4050 to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists. We also offer telehealth consultations. Ask about these when you speak with one of our representatives.