Hemangioma: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
Hemangioma: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is a Hemangioma?

Hemangioma, or infantile hemangiomas, are noncancerous growths of blood vessels. They’re the most common growths or tumors in children. They usually grow for a period of time and then subside without treatment.

They don’t cause problems in most infants. However, some hemangiomas may open and bleed or ulcerate. This may be painful. Depending on their size and location, they may be disfiguring. Additionally, they may occur with other central nervous  system or spine abnormalities.

The growths may also occur with other internal hemangiomas. These affect internal organs such as:

  • the liver
  • other parts of the gastrointestinal system
  • the brain
  • organs of the respiratory system

Hemangiomas that affect organs usually don’t cause problems.

How do Hemangiomas develop?

On the skin

Hemangiomas of the skin develop when there’s an abnormal proliferation of blood vessels in one area of the body.

Experts aren’t sure why blood vessels group together like this, but they believe it’s caused by certain proteins produced in the placenta during gestation (the time when you’re in the womb).

Hemangiomas of the skin can form in the top layer of skin or in the fatty layer underneath, which is called the subcutaneous layer. At first, a hemangioma may appear to be a red birthmark on the skin. Slowly, it will start to protrude upward from the skin. However, hemangiomas are not usually present at birth.

On the liver

Hemangiomas of the liver (hepatic hemangiomas) form in and on the liver’s surface. These can be related to infantile hemangiomas, or they can also be unrelated. The non-infantile hemangiomas of the liver are thought to be sensitive to estrogen.

During menopause, many women are prescribed replacement estrogen to minimize symptoms caused by the decline of their natural estrogen levels.

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