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A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): A.D.A.M.; 2013.

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.

Hemangioma

Cavernous hemangioma; Strawberry nevus

Last reviewed: November 20, 2012.

A hemangioma is a buildup of blood vessels in the skin or internal organs that is not normal.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

About 1in 3 hemangiomas are present at birth. The rest appear in the first several months of life.

The hemangioma may be:

Symptoms

Most hemangiomas are on the face and neck.

Signs and tests

The health care provider give you a physical exam to diagnose the hemangiomas are diagnosed. If the build up of blood vessels is deep within the body, you may need a CT or MRI scan. 

A hemangioma may occur with other rare conditions. You may need other tests to check for related problems. 

Treatment

Superficial or "strawberry" hemangiomas may not need treatment. They often go away their own, the appearance of the skin returns to normal. In some cases, a laser may be used to remove the small vessels.

Cavernous hemangiomas that involve the eyelid and block vision can be treated with lasers or steroid injections to shrink the mass. This allows vision to develop normally. Large cavernous hemangiomas or mixed hemangiomas may be treated with steroids either as oral medicines or injections into the hemangioma.

Taking beta-blocker medicines such as propranolol may also help reduce the size of a hemangioma.

Expectations (prognosis)

Small, superficial hemangiomas often disappear on their own. About half go away by age 5, and almost all disappear by age 9.

Complications

Calling your health care provider

All birthmarks, including hemangiomas, should be evaluated by the health care provider during a regular exam. 

Hemangiomas of the eyelid may cause problems with vision must be treated soon after birth. Hemangiomas that interfere with eating or breathing also need to be treated early.

Call your doctor if a hemangioma is bleeding or develops a sore.

Prevention

There is no known way to prevent hemangiomas.

References

  1. Habif TP. Vascular tumors and malformations. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 23.
  2. Morelli JG. Vascular Disorders. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 642.
  3.  

Review Date: 11/20/2012.

Reviewed by: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

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The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsementscof those other sites. © 1997–2011 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Copyright © 2013, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsementscof those other sites. © 1997–2011 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Copyright © 2013, A.D.A.M., Inc.

What works?

  • No evidence to support or refute elective surgery for benign liver tumoursNo evidence to support or refute elective surgery for benign liver tumours
    The most common benign liver tumours include cavernous haemangioma, focal nodular hyperplasia, and hepatic adenoma. The majority of patients are asymptomatic, and no treatment is indicated. The natural history of haemangioma and focal nodular hyperplasia is typically uneventful whereas that of hepatic adenoma can be complicated by life‐threatening conditions, such as rupture and haemorrhage. For these complications or when a definite histologic diagnosis is needed, surgery is advisable. However, in clinical practice there is a wide variation concerning the use of elective surgery (ie, surgery performed before complications have developed). No randomised clinical trials were identified for this systematic review, but 31 case series without a proper control group were retrieved. Accordingly, there is no evidence to support or refute elective surgery for benign liver tumours.
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Figures

  • Hemangioma - angiogram.
    Hemangioma on the face (nose).
    Circulatory system.

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