A hemangioma is a reddish bump that grows on a baby's skin. This lump is formed from a group of blood vessels that grow abnormally and become one.
Hemangiomas belong to birthmarks that often appear on the face, neck, scalp, chest, and back, in children aged 18 months and under. This condition is not cancerous and can disappear on its own. However, treatment is required if the lump causes vision and breathing problems.
In addition to the skin, hemangiomas can also grow on bones, muscles, or organs in the body. This article only discusses hemangiomas that grow on the skin.
Causes of Hemangioma
A hemangioma is formed when small blood vessels grow abnormally, and coalesce into one. It is not yet known what triggers the occurrence of the condition, but there are several factors that can increase the risk of hemangioma appearing, namely:
- Female sex
- Born prematurely
- Experiencing developmental disorders during pregnancy
- Having a low birth weight
- Suffering from a genetic disorder that is passed down in the family
Symptoms of Hemangioma
Hemangiomas are characterized by red, chewy lumps that grow on the face, neck, scalp, chest, back, and even the baby's eyes. The lump that forms tends to be just one. However, in twins, the lump can be more than one.
Hemangioma can appear at birth or a few months after, then grow quickly until it protrudes into the skin. After that, the hemangioma will shrink slowly.
Most hemangiomas disappear by the time the child is 5-10 years old. Despite this, the color of the skin on the former hemangioma will still be different from the color of the surrounding skin.
When do you go to the doctor ?
Every lump that appears on the baby's body needs to be consulted with a pediatrician , to ensure that the lump is not caused by a dangerous condition.
Immediately take the child to the doctor if the hemangioma bursts or has a wound, because these conditions can cause bleeding and infection.
Although it is rare, hemangiomas can cause problems with vision, hearing, breathing, and the smoothness of urination in children. Immediately check the child to the doctor if he experiences these symptoms.
Diagnosis of Hemangioma
Hemangioma can be diagnosed only through physical examination. However, if the lump looks abnormal or causes a wound, the doctor will perform a blood test or examine a tissue sample on the hemangioma.
If there is a suspicion that the lump is caused by another condition, the pediatrician can perform some additional examinations, such as Doppler ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI. This additional examination can also be done to see how deep the growth of the hemangioma is under the skin.
Most hemangiomas do not need to be treated, especially if they do not cause complaints other than the appearance of lumps. This is because the hemangioma will disappear by itself as the baby grows.
If the hemangioma causes problems, such as vision problems or breathing problems, and causes wounds, the doctor can give a number of the following drugs:
For severe hemangiomas, doctors will prescribe beta blockers in oral form, such as propanolol .
Corticosteroids, such as triamcinolone , are used in patients who do not respond to beta-blockers. This medicine can be given in the form of tablets, ointments, or injections directly into the hemangioma.
Doctors only give vincristine if the hemangioma causes disturbances in the baby's vision or breathing. This medicine is given by injection every month.
In addition to drugs, hemangiomas can be treated with laser therapy . However, this method is only used if the size of the hemangioma is large enough to cause pain.
Complications of Hemangioma
Although rare, complications that can arise in hemangioma are:
- Bleeding, if the hemangioma ruptures
- Visual disturbances, when hemangiomas occur on the eyelids
- Respiratory disorders, when hemangioma occurs in the throat or nose
- Secondary infection, if bacteria infect the ruptured hemangioma
Because the cause is not known for sure, there is no way to prevent hemangioma. In addition, generally hemangiomas will disappear on their own within 4–6 months.
If your baby has a hemangioma, observe if the size increases, then consult a doctor about the right treatment options.