Almost everyone understands that a birthmark is a permanent mark on the skin that is present from birth. However, understanding exactly what these marks are and why some people develop serious birthmark malformations requires more insight that just knowing about a “mark on the skin.”
Many people have birthmarks that go unnoticed. They may have a brown mark on their skin that is in a semi-inconspicuous spot on their body or one that naturally blends in with their skin tone, especially in spring and summer. For others, they may have what is called a hemangioma. Hemangiomas consist of tiny blood vessels that grow in a specific area on the skin, causing them to look deep red or purple. These blood vessels group together and cause a birthmark. The most popular kind of hemangiomas is called superficial hemangiomas, or strawberry hemangiomas. These bright red birthmarks stick out of the skin, and while they may cause a concern because of their appearance, almost all superficial hemangiomas go away on their own by the time a child reaches 9 years of age. However, if a superficial hemangioma is present near the eyes, ears, nose, or lips, they are often treated early on to prevent serious complications with the senses.
Another kind of hemangioma is called a deep hemangioma, or cavernous hemangioma. These birthmarks are deep within the skin and tend to be puffier than a superficial hemangioma. Because of how deep these birthmarks go, they typically need to be treated so that serious medical issues can be prevented or addressed.
Port wine stains are another kind of birthmark. These “stains” appear as though someone has spilled port wine on the skin. Port wine stains develop from wider blood vessels grouping together under the skin, typically on the face and neck. They are not raised from the skin, but rather look as though the pigmentation of the skin is just different.
At the Vascular Birthmark Institute of New York, our team of world renowned doctors specialize in the accurate diagnosis and treatment for children and adults who suffer from vascular tumors, vascular malformations, and other congenital birthmarks. Our mission is to continue to provide world-class care to all of our valued patients. Please contact us today.