The sight of a growth on your child may be alarming, but most cases of infantile hemangioma do not require intensive treatment or cause long-term problems. For the cases that do need more attention, there are a wide range of effective therapeutic options and management strategies.
No matter what the situation, it is still important to understand and monitor a hemangioma if it does develop on your little one — and know how to respond if care is required.
To help ease anxieties and increase knowledge, we’re happy to share the following basic overview. By understanding the causes, symptoms, treatments, and potential care needs that go with infantile hemangioma, you can be a more informed and empowered caregiver.
What is infantile hemangioma?
An infantile hemangioma is a group of blood vessels that basically grow the way they aren’t supposed to and then continue to multiply. As the name suggests, these growths begin shortly after birth during infancy and will develop quickly during the first five to six months of life. Infantile hemangioma affect about 4% to 5% of births.
Infantile Hemangioma Types
There are three main types of infantile hemangioma:
Superficial Hemangioma: Also called “strawberry birthmarks,” these grow on the surface of the skin and are slightly raised while having a bright red appearance
Deep Hemangioma: Develops under the surface of the skin and may have a blue or even a skin-colored appearance
Mixed Hemangioma: Diagnosed when both a superficial and deep infantile hemangioma are present
Infantile Hemangioma Phases
Infantile hemangioma generally develop in phases. The first is the early growth or proliferation phase during the early months, with the hemangioma reaching about 80% of its full size and will have a raised appearance. By late infancy, usually around the first birthday, the involution phase begins. This is when the hemangioma stops growing and begins to shrink. Finally, the hemangioma should regress by the time a child is about four years old, although it may be more or less depending on individual factors.
Infantile Hemangioma Causes
The causes of infantile hemangioma birthmarks are not known. There is little to no evidence to link these growths to genetics, diet, environmental factors, or parental lifestyle or behavior. There are some common risk factors that have been identified, including being slightly more common in girls, multiple births such as twins or triplets, premature babies, and caucasian children.
Infantile Hemangioma Symptoms
In many cases, hemangiomas do not cause symptoms beyond the visible growth and go away without treatment. Symptoms can develop in some situations resulting from the following issues:
Ulcers or sores that can result in pain and discomfort
Vision problems if the hemangioma develops near the eye
Breathing problems if the growth happens to affect an airway
Infantile Hemangioma Complications
In rare cases, infantile hemangioma can also be associated with a syndrome of other birth defects known as PHACE syndrome, or PHACES, which stands for:
Posterior fossa — referring to brain abnormalities, particularly in the cerebellum
Arterial or Abnormal arteries — often in the brain, neck, eye, or heart
Cardiac problems — specifically coarctation of the aorta
Sternal clefting — abnormal formation of the breastbone
If one or more of these problems develop, it can require more intensive diagnosis and treatment. It’s important to work closely with your doctor to properly diagnose and monitor infantile hemangioma, even if it is a less serious case.
Diagnosing Infantile Hemangioma
In the majority of cases, infantile hemangioma is diagnosed by sight. Deeper tissue hemangioma may require additional diagnostic steps through ultrasound or magnetic resonance imagery (MRI). If a large hemangioma is detected on the head or neck, additional evaluation to diagnose a condition associated with PHACE syndrome may also be recommended. This can include an echocardiogram, specialized MRI equipment, an eye examination, and other steps.
Infantile Hemangioma Treatment
For children that require additional care, treatments can include dermatological intervention, medications such as beta blockers, and in rare cases, surgery to remove the growth or scar tissue.
Caring for a Child with Infantile Hemangioma
Some children dealing with infantile hemangioma and/or PHACE syndrome have additional care needs, including addressing feeding difficulties, diapering concerns, breathing difficulties, administering medications, and physical disabilities. A large number of families find the help they need through pediatric home health services, whether they need respite care or more extensive assistance. An experienced and caring home health professional can help your family balance a busy schedule and lifestyle by delivering the level of attention and care your child needs.
Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Health Care in Florida
It can be hard to balance your time between work, home, and caring for a child. That’s why our team of professionals at Care Options for Kids is here to help. We have been enforcing precautionary measures and following the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for COVID-19 to ensure the safety and health of our clients and employees.
Our home health care services offer support in the comfort of your home. We refer loving and competent nurses to provide customized care for families — from a few hours a day to around-the-clock supervision. Contact us directly to speak with a home health care professional or request a free in-home assessment. Together we can determine the best plan of action to keep your loved ones happy and healthy.
If you or a loved one are considering Pediatric Home Health Care Services in Florida, contact the caring staff at Care Options for Kids. Call today at (888) 592-5855.