A hemangioma is a bright red birthmark that shows up either at birth or in the first two weeks after birth. It has a rubbery appearance and is made up of extra blood vessels in the skin. These birthmarks can form anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the face, scalp, chest, or back.
Treatment for a baby’s hemangioma usually isn’t necessary because most of the time it will fade. By age 10, most hemangiomas have very little visible trace. Treatment should be considered if the hemangioma interferes with seeing, breathing, or other vital functions.
A hemangioma begins as a flat red mark on the body. An infant usually only has one mark. During the first year of life, the red mark will grow rapidly into a spongy, rubbery-looking bump that sticks out from the skin. The hemangioma then enters what is referred to as a rest phase before eventually disappearing. Many disappear by age 5, and most disappear by age 10. The skin may be slightly discolored or raised after the hemangioma disappears.
There are several ways to treat hemangiomas though treatment isn’t necessary most of the time since these birthmarks generally fade over time. If the hemangioma impacts the body such as affecting vision, treatments include medications or laser surgery.
Beta-blockers can be used to treat small, superficial hemangiomas. A gel containing timolol may be applied to the affected skin or, for more severe hemangioma, an oral solution of propranolol can be used. This treatment typically needs to be continuous until one year of age.
Corticosteroid medications can be used for children who do not respond to beta-blocker treatments or cannot use them. Corticosteroids can be injected into the nodule or applied to the skin.
Laser surgery can be used to remove a small, thin hemangioma or to treat sores on a hemangioma. An excision can also be performed where the doctor will make an incision in your skin and cut the hemangioma out. Surgery may be an option, especially for older patients, if the hemangioma does not fade on its own.
Surgery can also be recommended if the hemangioma begins destroying the healthy tissue surrounding it. Hemangiomas can sometimes be painful, which would be another reason to consider getting them surgically removed.
At Ohio Head and Neck Surgeons, we understand your concerns when seeking cosmetic treatment options. Please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our quality ENT specialists. For more information on scheduling click here.
To prepare for your first appointment, you can also visit our New Patients page to find important forms you will need at your appointment, including registration and health history.