SymptomsBy Mayo Clinic staff
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A hemangioma, which is sometimes referred to as infantile hemangioma, may be present at birth but more often appears during the first several weeks of life. It starts out as a flat red mark anywhere on the body, most often on the face, scalp or back of the neck. Usually a child has only one mark, but some children may have more than one, particularly if they're part of a multiple birth.
During your child's first year, the red mark becomes a spongy mass that protrudes from the skin — often growing rapidly to 2 or 3 inches (about 5 to 7.6 centimeters) in diameter. The hemangioma then stops growing and enters a rest phase. Eventually, it begins to slowly disappear.
Half of all hemangiomas resolve by age 5, and nearly all hemangiomas are resolved by age 10. Although the color of the birthmark also fades, faint — but permanent — discoloration of the skin or residual extra skin may remain.
When to see a doctor
Your child's doctor will monitor the hemangioma during routine checkups. Contact your child's doctor between visits if the hemangioma bleeds, forms a sore or bruise, becomes firm, appears infected, or grows suddenly over one or two days.
There are other blood vessel growths that can be present at birth that aren't true hemangiomas, such as port wine stains and vascular formations that may require medical attention. You may need to consult a dermatologist if you're concerned your child's birthmark isn't an infantile hemangioma.
- What is a vascular birthmark? American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/common_vascular.html. Accessed July 12, 2010.
- Metry DW. Epidemiology; pathogenesis; clinical features; and complications of infantile hemangiomas. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed July 7, 2010.
- Metry DW. Management of infantile hemangiomas. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed July 7, 2010.