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A hemangioma is a type of birthmark caused by extra blood vessels in the skin. These benign skin tumors are the most common type of soft-tissue tumor in infants. They go away on their own somewhere between the ages of 5 and 10.
The vascular anomalies team at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh has expert training in treating hemangiomas.
To make an appointment for your child, call us at 412-692-8650.
Call us to learn about our hemangioma treatment options or make an appointment at 412-692-8650.
A hemangioma is a cluster of extra blood vessels in the skin. Sometimes they're visible at birth, but they may take up to two weeks to appear.
Often, the birthmark first shows up as a flat bright pink or red spot on the skin. As time passes, it grows and looks like a red bump on the skin.
When done growing, it will stay the same size for a while. Then it will shrink and go away, leaving just a red mark.
Most hemangiomas go away by the time a child is 5 to 10 years old.
Sometimes a hemangioma on the face or head can cause problems with:
These raised tumors are also easy to scratch and bump.
There is no known cause for this condition.
Doctors do know these birthmarks are more common in girls who are Caucasian, and in babies that are born early. As many as 10 percent of Caucasian infants may be born with a hemangioma.
There are three types of hemangiomas that look like a birthmark, all of which start as a red mark that swells.
Sometimes these tumors can affect organs inside the body.
Multiple hemangiomas are when a child has more than five of these marks on their skin. These children are more likely to also have them inside their bodies.
They can sometimes grow inside a child's airway, causing breathing problems or a cough that won't go away.
Your child's doctor can diagnose a hemangioma with a simple exam.
If your baby has many visible birthmarks, the doctor may order tests to see if there are any hemangiomas inside the body.
Some tests that can look for these spots inside the body are:
Your child may need to see a few specialists, such as:
At the Vascular Anomalies Center at UPMC Children's Hospital, we look at each child's unique case and needs.
We assess your child with care and use only the least invasive treatments necessary.
Most hemangiomas don't need treatment. But if your child's is causing health problems, we'll talk to you about treatment options.
Some spots respond well to oral beta-blockers. Your child will take it twice a day for about six months.
Sometimes we prescribe oral steroids for kids who can't take beta-blockers.
A beta-blocker liquid applied directly to the skin may be an option for some children.
We can treat some spots by injecting steroids into them. The steroids help the blood vessels shrink and reduce swelling.
Laser therapy can help:
Your child may need surgery to remove a hemangioma if it bleeds or hinders their normal day-to-day activities.
We always perform surgery under general anesthesia.
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
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