Hemangiomas are common birthmarks, characterized by a bright red color. They are not present at birth but often show up during the first few weeks of life. Rapid growth can follow with continued growth until 6 to 12 months of life.
Many smaller hemangiomas will eventually go away without leaving a mark. However, larger hemangiomas can leave behind wrinkled skin or fibrofatty changes.
Hemangiomas near the eyes or in cosmetically sensitive areas such as the lips or nasal tip should be treated. This can be done using a propranolol, an oral beta blocker that inhibits further growth.
Large hemangiomas in other locations, especially when ulcerated, should also be treated. Smaller, flatter hemangiomas often respond to timolol, a topical beta blocker. Laser treatment can also be a useful therapy.
Occasionally other vascular birthmarks can mimic a hemangioma so it is important to be seen by a pediatric dermatologist or other physician with hemangioma experience. Early intervention is essential in preventing complications.