Whether you call it a port wine stain, strawberry hemangioma or salmon patch, it is not uncommon for your child’s very visible birthmark to trigger concern. While infantile hemangiomas are considered the most common tumor of childhood (occurring in up to 10% of newborns), few parents have a full understanding about these vascular lesions that often appear on the head and neck. To put your mind at ease, we’ve provided some FAQ’s on hemangiomas so that you can understand the risks of leaving this birthmark alone or make an informed decision about how to move forward with hemangioma treatment.
Are hemangiomas cancerous?
First and foremost, it is important for parents to realize that hemangiomas are benign skin tumors. While they tend to grow in size during the first 6 to 12 months of a baby’s life, they will typically begin to shrink.
Are all hemangiomas the same?
Not only can these birthmarks appear in various sizes and on different parts of the body, hemangiomas are classified in specific types. The most common are superficial hemangiomas, which appear as bright red raised patches. Deep hemangiomas are less common and have a bluish or bruise-like appearance that typically does not dissipate or fade.
What caused my baby’s hemangioma?
The exact cause of hemangioma development is not known. However, we do know that the risk factors include female gender, prematurity, twin birth and complications associated with pregnancy or delivery.
Do they eventually disappear?
Not always. As a hemangioma enters the involution phase (shrinking period) for five to seven years, it may or may not go away completely. It is not uncommon for a large hemangioma to be replaced with fatty tissue, which can make the skin look especially stretched out and unsightly.
What are the risks of not treating a hemangioma?
Many parents opt to remove or treat their baby’s hemangioma to avoid certain risks and potential setbacks. For example, it is important to understand how your child’s growing hemangioma could affect breathing, feeding, vision or hearing due to its location. In addition, the emotional consequences should not be dismissed for a young child. While the birthmark may partially or completely disappear by age 7 or 8, that still leaves several years that their self-confidence could be threatened by a very visible skin lesion. Parent may wish to eliminate the risk for peer ridicule and low self-esteem due to the hemangioma.
How is a hemangioma treated?
Depending on the type, size and location of the hemangioma, therapy can include steroids, laser treatment or surgical removal of the mass. It is imperative that a skilled and experienced plastic surgeon perform hemangioma removal, as significant blood loss can occur. However, when done properly, this can be a highly successful treatment. In all cases, hemangioma treatment is customized to the unique needs of the patient.
Should I seek treatment immediately?
The types of hemangiomas that need to be addressed immediately are those that are likely to cause functional impairment or permanent disfigurement. At the office of Dr. Ben Talei, we can accurately determine the urgency in treating your baby’s hemangioma as well as offer you effective treatment options.
Dr. Talei is nationally recognized for his expertise in this field of plastic surgery. He prefers to treat these malformations as soon as possible to eliminate any unnecessary psychological effects or disfigurement. Dr. Talei has dual fellowship training in facial cosmetic and reconstructive surgery and he uses laser surgery for most vascular birthmarks and congenital anomalies.
Call today to learn more about your options for infantile hemangioma treatment in Beverly Hills.