Hemangiomas & Infants, Toddlers and Babies

Hemangiomas are benign tumors comprised of a tangled mass of blood vessels. They are most common in Caucasian infants, especially fair-skinned females. The exact cause of hemangiomas is not known; however, they do not appear to be associated with heredity, environmental factors, or activities during pregnancy.

Signs and Symptoms of Hemangiomas:

Most infants develop hemangiomas within two weeks to four months following birth. Approximately 60 percent of hemangiomas develop on the surface of the skin on the head or neck; however, they can also occur on the trunk, arms, legs, or even in an internal organ. Only about 20 percent of infants develop multiple hemangiomas. These infants have a greater likelihood of also having a hemangioma involving an internal organ. If the hemangioma develops along the spine, the child should be evaluated for possible spinal malformations.

Potential Complications:

While most hemangiomas are harmless and fade with age, the size and location of the growth may cause difficulty with breathing or vision. Hemangiomas affecting the internal organs have the potential to cause various complications depending on the organ affected. In very rare cases, the skin around the hemangioma can stretch and leave a wound or scab.

It is not unusual for extra blood vessels, skin, or fatty tissue to remain even after the hemangioma has faded. Orange County parents of children with large or disfiguring hemangiomas should consult a board-certified dermatologist at OC Skin Institute to find out the most appropriate method of correcting cosmetic issues and reducing the possibility of future complications.