What is Hemangiomas?
Hemangiomas are benign vascular tumors formed by small blood vessels. They are commonly found on the skin hence also referred to as birth marks however, they can present themselves in any tissue within the body including muscles, synovium, bones, tendons and connective tissues. Hemangiomas tend to appear within the first three weeks of infancy and are caused by the production of multiple small blood vessels or in other words, an overgrowth of these.
Causes of Hemangiomas
The formation of Hemangiomas during infancy depends on where the production of these small vessels occurs. The clusters can either appear close to the skin, in which case they are called superficial or they can form deeper below the skin. Superficial Hemangiomas tend to form a lump often likened to a strawberry in color. The first signs of the condition are dilated capillaries and small red spots that appear on pale areas of the skin. For deeper overgrowths, a bluish color or skin swelling is present. It is in fact possible for an infant to have both types of the condition.
The growth period for superficial Hemangiomas during infancy ranges from 3 to 6 months however, those that are deeper can take longer to grow to full size. The vessels start closing some 6 month after full growth then gradual shrinking starts taking place. The shrinking is often characterized by the appearance of grayish areas. By the age of five approximately 50 percent of all Hemangiomas are gone, the rest disappear at a rate of 10 percent each succeeding year.
Unfortunately not all signs of the condition may be resolved. Most case of Hemangiomas clear up completely however, some changes to the skin may be permanent. If ulcers developed on areas of the skin where the vessels overgrew then it is possible for these ulceration to scar places like the nose, eyelids and lips. This is more common in cases where the vascular tumors are large. Fibrofatty (both fatty and fibrous filled), stretched as well as wrinkled skin can result from shrunken tumors.
Since they are made up of extremely small vessel, excessive or significant bleeding is rare although some large blood vessels that are otherwise deeply hidden may suffer exposure if deep ulceration occurs. Due to the early stage in life that most cases take place, some instances of Hemangiomas can affect normal functions.
Those affecting the eyes can lead to permanent impairment of vision. Sucking and feeding my be affected by large Hemangiomas that appear around the region of the mouth, breathing as well as feeding can be affected by nose lesions and extensive Hemangiomas on the lower section of the face, the neck and inside the mouth can affect the child’s breathing passage. Hoarseness is an indication of this complication.
Treatment of Hemangiomas
On average it’s best to wait the condition out. When treatment is needed, Cortisone medicine can be used for growth retardation. This works by slowing down growth and stopping the tumor from reaching full size. In some cases surgery is an option.