What is hemangioma?
A hemangioma is a noncancerous tumor formed by a collection of excess blood vessels. Commonly, a hemangioma appears as a rubbery, bright red nodule. A hemangioma is called capillary hemangioma when it is formed in the top layer of the skin. It is called cavernous hemangioma when it is formed deeper in the skin. It is called mixed hemangioma when it is a combination of both.
What causes hemangioma?
About one-third of hemangiomas are present at birth. The rest appear in the first several months of life. The hemangioma may form in the top skin layers (capillary hemangioma), deeper in the skin (cavernous hemangioma), or a mixture of both.
What are the possible complications of a hemangioma?
The following complications may occur from a hemangioma:
- Bleeding (especially if the hemangioma is injured)
- Problems with breathing and eating
- Psychological problems due to skin appearance
- Secondary infections and sores
- Visible changes in the skin
- Vision problems
What are the symptoms of a hemangioma?
Most hemangiomas from on the face and neck. The following are the symptoms of a hemangioma:
- A red to reddish-purple, raised sore (lesion) on the skin
- A massive, raised, tumor with blood vessels
How is a hemangioma diagnosed?
Your doctor will do a physical exam to look for a hemangioma. If the buildup of blood vessels is deep inside the body, the doctor may order a CT or MRI scan for diagnosis.
How is hemangioma treated?
Most of the small or uncomplicated hemangiomas may not require treatment. They often go away on their own and the appearance of the skin returns to normal. About half go away by age 5, and almost all disappear by age 9.
Cavernous hemangiomas that involve the eyelid and block vision are usually treated with lasers or steroid injections to shrink them. This allows vision to develop normally. Large cavernous hemangiomas or mixed hemangiomas may be treated with steroids given orally or injected into the hemangioma.
Doctors also use beta-blocker medicines to help reduce the size of a hemangioma.
This feature is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute the expert guidance of a doctor. We advise seeing a doctor if you have any health concerns.