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  • Hemangioma


    A hemangioma is an abnormal buildup of blood cells on the skin or internal organs and nearly always benign. They are related to the circulatory system and filled with blood. These growths often appear during the child’s first few weeks of life and tend to fade with age, usually disappearing completely by the time the child is 10 years old. Hemangiomas are a very common childhood tumor, appearing in approximately 10 percent of Caucasian children, but are less common in children of other ethnicities. Approximately 80 percent of these growths form on the face or neck.
    Hemangiomas go through three stages:

    • Stage 1—“Proliferation”: Lesion grows very quickly. This stage lasts approximately 12 months.
    • Stage 2—“Rest”: Lesion shows very little change in appearance. Usually lasts until child is 1 or 2 years old.
    • Stage 3—“Involution”: Final stage where lesion begins to shrink.  Approximately half of the hemangiomas disappear by the time the child is 5; almost 100 percent of these growths are gone completely by the time the child is 10.

    Signs & Symptoms

    These growths are often referred to as a “strawberry hemangioma” or “strawberry birthmark” because of their resemblance to a ripe strawberry. They appear on the skin as a red or reddish-purple raised lesion or an extremely large growth with noticeable blood vessels. When they appear under the skin, they have a bluish tinge.

    Diagnosis & Treatment

    A doctor can provide a definite diagnosis of a hemangioma. Most growths do not require treatment and disappear on their own with no long-term side effects.  In rare cases, side effects can include bleeding, breathing/eating difficulties, or vision problems. The affected skin usually looks normal once the lesion has disappeared. Depending on the size and/or location of the tumor—such as on the eyelid that may block vision—a doctor may prescribe steroid injections or laser treatments. Laser surgery is the most common treatment for patients over 10 years of age.


    Hemangiomas are not usually dangerous or life threatening. Unless a function of the patient’s body is compromised, in which case treatment may be needed, these lesions disappear on their own and cause no further complications.