A hemangioma is a type of benign tumor made up of a tangle of blood vessels. It can occur anywhere on the body, but most commonly appears on the face, scalp, chest, and back. Hemangiomas appear as bright red or purple raised bumps or patches on the skin. Most hemangiomas will form during the first few months of a baby’s life, and can grow quite large.​

Types of Hemangiomas

Hemangiomas can come in two different types.

  • Cavernous hemangioma: This type grows slowly. It is a cluster of enlarged, thin-walled vessels.
  • Capillary hemangioma: This type grows rapidly, often doubling in size over a period of weeks. It is made up of small, thin-walled capillaries.
The type of hemangioma your baby has will determine how it is treated. If your baby has a cavernous hemangioma, it may not need any treatment.

Causes of Hemangiomas

The exact cause of hemangiomas is unknown, but it is thought that they occur due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some research suggests that exposure to certain medications, infections, or other events during pregnancy may be associated with increased risk of hemangioma development.

Symptoms of Hemangiomas

Hemangiomas are often visible on the skin and can vary in size. They may look like a raised lump or patch on the skin, and may be a bright red or purple color. In some cases, they may have a bluish tint if they are deep in the skin. Some hemangiomas may also have a soft, velvety feel. If left untreated, a hemangioma may continue to grow until it reaches its peak size around 5-9 months after birth.

Treatment of Hemangiomas

The treatment of hemangiomas depends on the type of hemangioma and the severity of symptoms. In many cases, hemangiomas can be left alone and will eventually go away on their own. However, if the hemangioma is growing quickly or causing discomfort or disfigurement, treatment may be needed. Treatment options may include topical corticosteroids, laser therapy, and surgery. The goal of treatment is to reduce the size of the hemangioma and reduce its symptoms.