Hemangiomas are a type of abnormal growth that affects four to five percent of infants. These tumors may look scary but are often asymptomatic and easy to treat. But that’s not all there is to know about this medical condition.
Keep reading to learn what is hemangioma, the different types, and how they are treated.
What is Hemangioma?
Hemangioma comes from the root word hem, meaning blood, angi, meaning vessel, and oma, which means mass or growth. The literal name, therefore, translates to a “mass of blood vessels.”
A hemangioma is a red mark apparent at birth or develops within the first month of a baby’s life. It often has a rubbery surface texture and protrudes from the skin. It is also called a strawberry birthmark. They are a type of non-cancerous or benign tumor resulting from atypical blood vessel development.
These marks can show up anywhere on the skin or in the body. An infant born with a hemangioma typically will not need treatment unless the growth is in a hazardous area. Most birthmarks fade away by ten years of age.
Four Main Types
There are four main types of hemangiomas. Here is how each is identified.
Cavernous hemangioma: Cavernous hemangiomas may appear anywhere, including the skin or in the body. Most do not cause symptoms or complications unless found in the brain and spinal cord. They are less common and may show in the skin as a bluish hue.
Capillary hemangioma: This type of hemangioma is the most common type, impacting as much as up to five percent of children. It is an orbital tumor, meaning that it appears on the eyelid, eye surface, or socket. In this case, the growth can affect eye development.
These growths can have an impact on eye development. Problems that can arise include astigmatism, glaucoma, or amblyopia. A capillary hemangioma that develops in the skin is called superficial and is a vivid crimson.
Compound hemangioma: This type is a combination of capillary and cavernous hemangiomas. Treatment is different and depends on location and size.
Lobular capillary hemangioma: Also called pyogenic granulomas, this kind of growth is small and is present on the hands, face, limbs, or mucous membranes. They are especially prone to rupture or bleeding. Pyogenic granulomas may develop in people beyond infancy or childhood.
Hemangioma Symptoms and Signs
As hemangiomas often show on the skin, the signs are noticeable. Skin growths do not tend to cause pain.
Hemangiomas affecting other parts of the body aside from the skin cause different side effects. They can take shape in the liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, brain and spinal cord, and respiratory organs. In addition, the symptoms they cause relate to the affected organ, so a growth in the colon will generate different outcomes than one in the liver.
Should You Be Worried About a Hemangioma?
While these growths are non-cancerous and often go away on their own, some infants may need hemangioma medication. Infant treatment and medicines for babies include beta-blockers, corticosteroids, or even removal through laser surgery.
One such treatment for infants is Hemangeol, an oral solution that is administered for six months. You can learn more here about hemangioma treatment. Talk with your pediatrician about different treatment options.
Hemangioma Management Made Easy
Treating infantile hemangiomas is a vital topic to discuss with a doctor. We hope this article helped you answer your question, “What is hemangioma?”
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