What Are Hemangiomas?

hemangioma (320x240)
Hemangioma on the abdomen of an infant

Hemangiomas are benign growths of blood vessels that are very common in children. Though called "birthmarks" they often do not become noticeable until a few days to weeks after birth. Hemangiomas grow in size for about 6-12 months, then shrink or "involute" over a period of years.

Most hemangiomas do not cause problems and thus do not need treatment. Sometimes however, hemangiomas may cause ulceration (when a painful sore develops on the hemangioma), block an important organ such as the eye, grow very rapidly, or be of cosmetic concern to the child and/or family. Our pediatric dermatologists specialize in those complications, when treatment may be needed.