What is a hemangioma?

A hemangioma is a type of birthmark and vascular abnormality and is the most common benign (noncancerous) tumor of the skin. Port-wine stains, strawberry hemangiomas and salmon patches are all hemangiomas. 


While they may be very faint or invisible at birth, most hemangiomas grow rapidly after birth. Over time, they become smaller and lighter in color. The process of involution may take several years. 


A clinical evaluation is required for diagnosis. 


Treatment for hemangiomas depends upon their size, location and severity. Treatment is usually not recommended for small, noninvasive hemangiomas, as they will become smaller on their own. Hemangiomas that cause bleeding problems, feeding or breathing difficulties, growth disturbances or impairment of vision may require medical or surgical intervention.

Treatment may include:

  • Steroid medications

  • Embolization of the blood vessels (injection of material into the blood vessels to block the blood inflow)

  • Laser or surgical removal

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