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Hemangioma

Cavernous hemangioma; Strawberry nevus; Birthmark - hemangioma

 

A hemangioma is an abnormal buildup of blood vessels in the skin or internal organs.

Causes

 

About one third of hemangiomas are present at birth. The rest appear in the first several months of life.

The hemangioma may be:

  • In the top skin layers (capillary hemangioma)
  • Deeper in the skin (cavernous hemangioma)
  • A mixture of both

 

Symptoms

 

Symptoms of a hemangioma are:

  • A red to reddish-purple, raised sore (lesion) on the skin
  • A massive, raised, tumor with blood vessels

Most hemangiomas are on the face and neck.

 

Exams and Tests

 

The health care provider will do a physical exam to diagnose a hemangioma. If the buildup of blood vessels is deep inside the body, a CT or MRI scan may be needed.

A hemangioma may occur with other rare conditions. Other tests to check for related problems may be done.

 

Treatment

 

The majority of small or uncomplicated hemangiomas may not need treatment. They often go away on their own and the appearance of the skin returns to normal. Sometimes, a laser may be used to remove the small blood vessels.

Cavernous hemangiomas that involve the eyelid and block vision can be treated with lasers or steroid injections to shrink them. This allows vision to develop normally. Large cavernous hemangiomas or mixed hemangiomas may be treated with steroids, taken by mouth or injected into the hemangioma.

Taking beta-blocker medicines may also help reduce the size of a hemangioma.

 

Outlook (Prognosis)

 

Small superficial hemangiomas will often disappear on their own. About half go away by age 5, and almost all disappear by age 9.

 

Possible Complications

 

These complications can occur from a hemangioma:

  • Bleeding (especially if the hemangioma is injured)
  • Problems with breathing and eating
  • Psychological problems, from skin appearance
  • Secondary infections and sores
  • Visible changes in the skin
  • Vision problems

 

When to Contact a Medical Professional

 

All birthmarks, including hemangiomas, should be evaluated by your health care provider during a regular exam. 

Hemangiomas of the eyelid that may cause problems with vision must be treated soon after birth. Hemangiomas that interfere with eating or breathing also need to be treated early.

Call your provider if a hemangioma is bleeding or develops a sore.

 

Prevention

 

There is no known way to prevent hemangiomas.

 

 

References

Habif TP. Vascular tumors and malformations. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 23.

Martin KL. Vascular disorders. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 650.

Patterson JW. Vascular tumors. In: Patterson JW, ed. Weedon's Skin Pathology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2015:chap 38.

 
  • Hemangioma - angiogram

    Hemangioma - angiogram - illustration

    This angiogram (an X-ray taken after dye has been injected into the blood stream) shows a mass of blood vessels (hemangioma) in the liver.

    Hemangioma - angiogram

    illustration

  • Hemangioma on the face (nose)

    Hemangioma on the face (nose) - illustration

    Hemangiomas are tumors made up of dilated blood vessels that usually appear shortly after birth, although they may be present at birth. Hemangiomas on the face can be disfiguring and may interfere with visual development or cause obstruction of the airway.

    Hemangioma on the face (nose)

    illustration

  • Circulatory system

    Circulatory system - illustration

    Blood used by the body is brought back to the heart and lungs by the veins of the body. Once the blood has gathered more oxygen from the lungs, it is pumped back out to the body through the arteries.

    Circulatory system

    illustration

  • Hemangioma excision

    Hemangioma excision - illustration

    A hemangioma is a non-cancerous (benign) growth of blood vessels. They are the most common benign blood vessel (vascular) growths in infants and children. Most resolve with time and occasionally with medication. Large or disfiguring hemangiomas may require surgical excision.

    Hemangioma excision

    illustration

    • Hemangioma - angiogram

      Hemangioma - angiogram - illustration

      This angiogram (an X-ray taken after dye has been injected into the blood stream) shows a mass of blood vessels (hemangioma) in the liver.

      Hemangioma - angiogram

      illustration

    • Hemangioma on the face (nose)

      Hemangioma on the face (nose) - illustration

      Hemangiomas are tumors made up of dilated blood vessels that usually appear shortly after birth, although they may be present at birth. Hemangiomas on the face can be disfiguring and may interfere with visual development or cause obstruction of the airway.

      Hemangioma on the face (nose)

      illustration

    • Circulatory system

      Circulatory system - illustration

      Blood used by the body is brought back to the heart and lungs by the veins of the body. Once the blood has gathered more oxygen from the lungs, it is pumped back out to the body through the arteries.

      Circulatory system

      illustration

    • Hemangioma excision

      Hemangioma excision - illustration

      A hemangioma is a non-cancerous (benign) growth of blood vessels. They are the most common benign blood vessel (vascular) growths in infants and children. Most resolve with time and occasionally with medication. Large or disfiguring hemangiomas may require surgical excision.

      Hemangioma excision

      illustration


     

    Review Date: 10/24/2016

    Reviewed By: David L. Swanson, MD, Vice Chair of Medical Dermatology, Associate Professor of Dermatology, Mayo Medical School, Scottsdale, AZ. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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