A hemangioma is a benign vascular tumor that may be present at birth or appear shortly after birth. It may grow rapidly from a small pin sized red dot to a large mass (tumor) during the first few months of life. The tumors are composed of small blood vessels (capillaries) that may ulcerate causing pain or may even bleed. Most fade away to a fleshy colored fatty mass in later childhood (5-7yrs old) but often require surgical excision to improve the contour of the affected area. Medical treatment may involve a medication called propanolol to induce regression in areas where surgical treatment is not optimal. Laser treatment can also be used but since it only penetrates about 1mm, it is not optimal for thicker tumors.
Medical Treatment: Propanolol
Initially used to treat cardiac problems an amazing side effect of reducing the size of large hemangiomas was noted. Propanolol is now the gold standard for the treatment of complicated hemangiomas. Hospital admission for administering the drug is required for monitoring , and the results can be dramatic.
Removal of all, or part of the hemagioma is the goal of surgery. Surgery is indicated for hemagiomas that may bleed or are painful, are unsightly, or that are causing deformation of neighboring normal anatomic structures.