Birthmarks come in many shapes and sizes. Hemangiomas – sometimes referred to as Infantile Hemangioma – may be present at birth or can appear shortly after birth. The cause of hemangiomas remains unknown – but some studies show they tend to run in families. Although they can occur anywhere on the skin, they are most often found on the skin of the head and neck. They tend to be more common in girls than in boys – and occur mostly in Caucasian children. Treatment varies widely for hemangiomas and varies from watchful waiting to surgical intervention. This is largely determined by the hemangioma location, rate of growth, and degree of functional impairment caused by the hemangioma.
WHAT ARE HEMANGIOMAS?
Hemangiomas are “birthmarks” that appear as a bright, red patch or a nodule of extra blood vessels in the skin. They grow during the first year of life into a spongy mass that can protrude from the skin during the “proliferative phase”. Typically, hemangiomas then tend to recede over time during the “involutional phase”. The degree of involution may vary widely and is often difficult to predict. Hemangiomas are usually benign (non-cancerous) – and are not typically associated with other serious medical conditions. They may start out as a flat red mark – anywhere on the body – but most often on the face, scalp or back of the neck. Superficial hemangiomas are located on the outer layers of the skin, while deep hemangiomas are found under the skin in the fatty layer. Half of all hemangiomas resolve on their own by age 5. One of the biggest challenges, however, is that even though hemangiomas tends to recede over time – permanent discoloration of the skin or residual scarring and skin changes may remain.
PROBLEMS – COMPLICATIONS WITH HEMANGIOMAS:
Dr. Yeh believes that the initial consultation is most important and should be done face to face with your surgeon. After listening closely and carefully to your concerns, Dr. Yeh is able to do a critical evaluation and make the correct recommendations to address your specific needs. It is during the consultation that you both arrive at a mutual understanding and trust than enables Dr. Yeh to tailor the treatment plan that is best suited to you – not somebody else.
VASCULAR BIRTHMARK – HEMANGIOMA TREATMENT:
In general, infantile hemangiomas shrink over time and tend to resolve. If this does not occur, treatment is determined by age, size and location of the hemangioma, and rate of growth. Hemangiomas that are located in areas that threaten a patient’s health such as the airway or liver – or those that affect normal development – the ear canal or on the eye – or those that are potentially disfiguring – on the face – are treated quicker and more aggressively.
Dr. Yeh has specialized training and experience in diagnosing & treating hemangiomas/vascular birthmarks and personalizes each treatment – for each patient.