From physical well being to normal development, you want the best for your baby. The doctors at Wellspring Craniofacial Group honor this commitment and provide expertise in various birthmarks and vascular malformations, including hemangiomas.

Image source: Thinkstock

Image source: Thinkstock

Understanding “Strawberry” Birthmarks

While hemangiomas can appear anywhere on the body, the ones that appear on the face may be the most surprising for parents. The same can be true for hemangiomas that appear on any sensitive part of the body. The surprise can be increased by the fact that many hemangiomas are not present at birth but appear a few weeks later. In the case of hemangiomas, the most important thing to know is that the vast majority will disappear on their own and that many treatment options exist to enable an excellent outcome.

A hemangioma is a type of vascular birthmark, one that you may know as a “strawberry.” It’s a harmless overgrowth of cells that usually develops a few weeks after birth. Hemangiomas appear bright red and elevated above the skin or, if they’re below the skin, bluish in color.

Nearly 50% of hemangiomas will disappear by age four, and the vast majority will be gone by the time children reach elementary school age. However, children may benefit from infant hemangioma treatment if the birthmark:

  • Is in a sensitive location.
  • Gets in the way of normal function.
  • Bleeds or causes certain skin-related problems described below.

We encourage families to visit Wellspring Craniofacial Group, and talk to one of our pediatric craniofacial surgeons to discuss any concerns, and learn about all the options available.

How We Approach Infant Hemangioma Treatment for Our Patients

At Wellspring Craniofacial Group, we see our role as both to provide specialized recommendations to limit the impact that the hemangiomas create for the child. An early evaluation can help you decide whether treatment is necessary and what types of treatment exist. We walk side-by-side with families on the journey from diagnosis to an aesthetically beautiful outcome.

The Most Likely Case

Our team simply observes about 90% of our hemangioma patients because the hemangiomas are small, do not involve sensitive areas of the body, and will most likely disappear on their own. Your doctor will be there to answer any questions you may have and to help if treatment becomes necessary.

Infant Hemangioma Treatment for Large Birthmarks / Birthmarks in Sensitive Places

Large hemangiomas and hemangiomas in areas such as the face, hands, feet, and genitalia may benefit from intervention. Your doctor will make a recommendation about your child’s care and spend extensive time with you so that you feel confident in your decision to pursue treatment. Patients may have a combination of medical, laser, and surgical options, which can:

  • Limit the size of the hemangioma.
  • Speed up its disappearance.
  • Reduce long-term scarring or deformity.

A hemangioma that gets in the way of vision, hearing, feeding, or breathing requires a more aggressive and immediate approach. Your doctor will talk with you about intervening with medical therapy or surgery and help you understand the details of what to expect.

Bleeding or an Open Wound

Some hemangiomas grow so fast that they develop bleeding. We realize that this can be alarming to parents, but we want you to know that these effects are manageable and very responsive to infant hemangioma treatment.

This might be as simple as using a topical anti-bleeding agent and proper wound care. With larger hemangiomas, your doctor may recommend sealing the area with the pulse of a medical laser and / or initiating other therapy.

Changes to Surrounding Skin

Even though a strawberry birthmark may resolve without infant hemangioma treatment, certain side effects can remain, such as:

  • Stretched, thin, or irregular skin / features.
  • A fatty deposit left over in the area.
  • Scarring

Wellspring Craniofacial Group offers a range of laser therapy and surgical techniques to children, which can limit the visibility of these changes. Our doctors combine a rare mix of craniofacial specialization and expertise in aesthetic surgery. We will apply all of our skills, our artistic eye, and our dedication to your child’s well-being to produce natural-looking and cosmetically appealing results.

Common Questions About Infant Hemangioma Treatment

How frequently do hemangiomas occur?

These birthmarks are extremely common. 1 in 20 children are diagnosed with a hemangioma, and we have extensive experience in caring for infants who have a hemangioma that requires treatment.

Was the birthmark always there and I just didn’t see it?

Most hemangiomas are not present at birth but rather develop within a few weeks after birth. Sometimes a small discoloration in the skin may be noticed prior.

What is a pyogenic granuloma?

Children sometimes receive this diagnosis instead of hemangioma. A pyogenic granuloma is another type of vascular tumor. It is a rapidly growing skin lesion that is prone to bleeding. Unlike most hemangiomas, pyogenic granulomas do not disappear on their own. Wellspring Craniofacial Group can provide guidance to your family about care during your consultation.

Should I be concerned about my infant’s hemangioma?

It’s important to be attentive to your child’s well-being, but there’s no need to be overly anxious about a hemangioma. If your baby is like the thousands of children who develop a hemangioma each year, your doctor will simply advise ongoing monitoring, and the birthmark will go away on its own. If your infant will benefit from hemangioma treatment, we’ll be there for you every step of the way.

Wellspring Craniofacial Group supports families with attentive and transformative care. We invite you to contact our office for an appointment to learn more about your options regarding infant hemangioma treatment. Call (512) 600-2888 today.