Infantile Hemangiomas are vascular formations that are fully formed at birth. As with all vascular formations, they involve an abnormal formation or grouping of blood vessels. In a hemangioma, the cells forming the blood vessels multiply aggressively and form a benign tumor that contains smaller blood vessels. These vessels have thinner walls and blood flows through them quickly. The tumors are attached to normal blood vessels.
Most infantile hemangiomas are easily identified at birth. Your doctor may use ultrasound to examine the inner blood vessels and confirm a diagnosis. During the first year, your pediatrician will likely keep a close watch on any hemangioma for signs of abnormal growth or other problems. Regular checkups can catch symptoms of change or complications early and treatment can begin sooner.
The Difference Between Involuting and Non-Involuting Infantile Hemangiomas
Infantile hemangiomas are commonly typed as Rapidly-Involuting (RICH) or Non-Involuting (NICH) Congenital Hemangiomas. Involuting refers to the common shrinkage of the hemangioma usually observed during the first year after birth. If your infant’s hemangioma shrinks noticeably after birth, it is a RICH. These types of tumors are usually observed over time and can be treated with medications to speed their reduction in size until they disappear completely. They can be removed if persistent bleeding or other complications develop. They are non-malignant and pose no threat of cancer.
A Non-Involuting Congenital Hemangioma (NICH) is actually quite rare. Unlike a RICH, a NICH does not involute, or shrink in size, over time. In fact, a NICH increases in size as your child grows. NICH tumors are benign and rare, but they are distinguished from RICH tumors by their irregularly-arranged patterns of blood vessels.
Common complications with NICH tumors are similar to those with RICH tumors, including bleeding, pain and growth in an area that restricts movement or causes cosmetic concerns. Most hemangiomas develop in highly visible areas like the head or neck, but some can appear on the torso or limbs. But while RICH tumors will eventually fade away, NICH tumors do not and will have to be surgically removed.
Surgical Removal of Non-Involuting Congenital Hemangiomas
A vascular specialist should be consulted when removal of a non-involuting congenital hemangioma is indicated. They will possess the specialist skills and knowledge to remove the tumor safely and with the least number of risks for complications. Some larger NICH tumors may require an additional medical specialist to block some blood vessels within the hemangioma to reduce the risk of excessive bleeding when the tumor is removed.
In many cases, the NICH will leave behind scarred or disfigured tissue that will require specialist treatment by a plastic surgeon for correction. Your vascular specialist at The Vascular Birthmark Institute will recommend further treatments or other medical interventions as necessary. Our talented and experienced team of specialists have helped many patients from all over the world by removing NICH tumors. While these types of tumors are rare, we still possess the experience and knowledge necessary to safely and skillfully remove NICH tumors so patients can grow and develop fully without complications and enjoy a completely normal life.
If your child has been diagnosed with any form of vascular malformation, you should have it evaluated as soon as possible by a specialist. The Vascular Birthmark Institute is a world-renowned group of vascular medical professionals that can handle any form of birthmark or vascular complications. Contact our office to schedule a consultation and examination. Our office team can help you work out details for travel to our offices in New York, New York. Call today for scheduling and more information.