Every year there are more than 3.7 million children born in the United States.
Roughly 3% to 5% of those children will have infantile hemangiomas. Sometimes referred to as a birthmark, it will be visible as a red bump or even a bluish bump right under the skin.
What Is Infantile Hemangiomas?
Research isn’t conclusive on what causes infantile hemangiomas. It is a collection of blood cells and is more common in girls, premature babies, and those born as twins or triplets. Overall, infantile hemangiomas are the most common vascular birthmark seen in babies.
Symptoms of Infantile Hemangiomas
Often seen at birth as a small red spot, it can take weeks or even months to form. Over time the spot will grow larger, and can also take on a bluish hue appearance. Often the spot will continue to grow for several months before stopping.
In most cases, the infantile hemangiomas will fade and disappear over time. Most children won’t have any noticeable signs of it after the age of 10 years. Sometimes, however, the problem can become more severe, with painful ulcers developing.
If there is an ulcer, there is a higher possibility of scarring. This scar often goes away, unless it is located in a sensitive area. The most common site for scarring is often in the face, with eyelids, lips, and noses producing lifelong scars.
Diagnosing Infantile Hemangiomas
Most often this is done in a doctor’s office, as the marks are obvious and the condition is common. Sometimes the infantile hemangiomas can be in deeper tissue. If that’s the case, it could require the use of ultrasound or an MRI in order to assess and diagnose.
Stages of Infantile Hemangiomas
There are different types of infantile hemangiomas. We’ll cover the most common type but if you’re dealing with a less common variety, you should read more about them to learn what to expect.
The first stage is a small red dot or patch. This is often seen between birth to two months of age. Over time this dot or patch will expand, growing larger as the baby ages and grows. For most children, this is all the infantile hemangiomas ever do. It grows larger until around 5 months old to a year.
At this point, the infantile hemangiomas will slowly start to decrease in size. Over time it will continue to get smaller until it is completely gone. This often occurs by around the age of 10.
Treatment for infantile hemangiomas comes in three forms. The first is simply to wait and see, which is most often the best approach. For painful or potentially scarring infantile hemangiomas beta-blockers are often prescribed. For more severe cases, a dye pulsed laser can be used.
Your Baby and Infantile Hemangiomas
If you are concerned your child may have infantile hemangiomas, your family physician will be able to help. The good news is that it is most often completely benign, and won’t cause any trouble. If it does, however, there are treatment options.
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