It is estimated that up to 5% of children have infantile hemangiomas or IHs, a common birthmark that is comprised of blood vessels. These “strawberry marks” usually appear in the first 4-6 weeks after birth and may progress in size and color during the first few months of an infant’s life. While most IHs are not dangerous, it is important to have the condition diagnosed and monitored to determine if treatment is needed.
Infantile hemangiomas are usually found on the head or neck area, although they can occur anywhere on the body. Female infants are more likely to have an IHs. Other higher risk groups include premature infants and having a fair skin. IHs may first appear as a pink or bluish area, then rapidly darken and grow over the first few months. Most IHs stop growing by the eighth month and begin shrinking and fading between the first and fifth years of life.
Types and Treatments for IHs
Infantile hemangiomas are varied in type. Some are surface lesions, while others may be mass-like or below the skin. The most common types of IHs include:
- Superficial hemangiomas (strawberry marks)
- Deep hemangiomas (bluish tint with a tumor below the skin)
- Mixed hemangiomas (combination of superficial and deep)
- Nodular hemangiomas (oval or round tumor, the most common type)
- Segmental hemangiomas (larger and more likely to cause abnormalities)
In many IHs, they can shrink and fade away without the need for treatment. However, if the IHs becomes ulcerated, interferes with function or becomes infected, it may need treatment. Treatments can vary depending on the type, size and location of the IHs but can include medications like propranolol, laser therapy and surgical removal.
If you have a child with an infantile hemangioma and want to learn more about the options for treatment, you can trust our experts at the Vascular Birthmark Institute. We are the leaders in the removal and treatment of vascular lesions and tumors, giving you access to world-class medical care for your child at our clinic in New York. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.