Hemangiomas are one of the most common tumors that develop in infants. They are most often present from birth or appear within the first few weeks after birth. They grow only for a certain duration and usually go away on their own.
Hemangiomas are the noncancerous overgrowth of blood vessels that look like some colored patches or bumps on the skin. Though they can appear anywhere over the body, they are most commonly found over the face and the scalp followed by the neck.
The hemangiomas can also be present in
- Liver and other organs of the digestive system
- Respiratory system
Most of the infantile hemangioma shrinks by the age of 4 years. However, scarring left by hemangioma persists in almost half of the children affected by it.
What causes the hemangiomas to develop is unknown. However, premature babies or babies with low birth weight have more chances to develop it.
What are the signs and symptoms of hemangiomas?
Hemangiomas of the skin initially appear as small red bumps. Gradually, as the blood vessels multiply further, the hemangiomas look like big, burgundy-colored bumps. Their resemblance to the deep red color of strawberry has given them the name of strawberry hemangiomas.
Hemangiomas generally do not produce any symptoms unless they are multiple or located in a sensitive area, such as near the eye.
Hemangiomas that grow in the internal organs, such as the liver and other organs of the digestive system, can cause problems like:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal discomfort
How are hemangiomas diagnosed?
Most hemangiomas do not need any special tests for their diagnosis. Doctors diagnose them by just looking at them and knowing their history.
To know the details of the skin hemangioma, the doctor may order an ultrasound. Suspicion of head and neck hemangiomas may need magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to confirm the diagnosis.
What is the treatment for hemangioma?
Doctors generally recommend observing the hemangiomas as most of them subside on their own without any treatment. This requires a few follow-ups with the doctor. Only if the hemangiomas are multiple or cause vision problems, such as hemangiomas near the eye, treatment will be required.
- Beta-blocker drugs: Small, superficial hemangiomas can be treated with the local application of timolol gel or timolol drops. Another beta-blocker, propranolol (available as a liquid) can also be given by mouth to shrink the hemangioma if the local gel does not work.
- Steroids: This is the second line of therapy for patients who do not respond to beta-blocker drugs. Steroids can be injected into the hemangioma.
- Laser therapy: Laser therapy is another option to remove the hemangioma or treat the scars.
- Surgery: Hemangiomas in the internal organs of the body require surgery if they grow large or become painful.
What are the complications of hemangioma?
Complications of hemangioma are rare. A possible complication is ulcer formation. This ulcer can bleed or cause infection.
Hemangiomas located in the internal organs, such as the lungs, can cause difficulty in breathing. Hemangiomas in the brain may cause headache and neurological disturbances and hemangiomas in the eye can cause vision disturbances.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Mayoclinic. Hemangioma. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hemangioma/symptoms-causes/syc-20352334
John Hopkins Medicine. Infantile Hemangioma. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/infantile-hemangioma
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Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
Hemangioma of Infancy (HI) PictureA benign tumor formed by a collection of excess blood vessels. A hemangioma may be visible through the skin as a birthmark, known colloquially as a 'strawberry mark.' Most hemangiomas that occur at birth disappear after a few months or years. Also known as cherry or capillary hemangioma.
What Exactly Is a Tumor?A tumor is an abnormal growth of cells, which serves no purpose in the body. There are three types of tumors, but it is not always clear how a tumor will develop in the future. Some non-cancerous tumors can become cancerous. Early detection of a lump or tumor is important to determine what will be the treatment.
What Is a Grade 4 Tumor?In grade 4 cancer, tumor cells look very different from the normal cells, and most likely, they have spread to distant organs. Such tumors have a poorer outlook and may need more aggressive management. Usually, tumors in grade 4 are undifferentiated and very aggressive.