What is a haemangioma?
A haemangioma is a collection of abnormal blood vessels. It is not usually present at birth, but appears as a small red mark at about 2 weeks of age. It grows during the first few months of life, where its size becomes bigger, and colour becomes redder. The growth phase normally stops when a child is about 9 months old. Thereafter, it gradually reduces in size and colour.
Will my child need treatment?
Since haemangioma reduces in size and colour at its own accord, treatment is usually not needed. However, in certain circumstances, when its growth is very rapid, or if it is interfering with normal functions e.g. blocking the vision, or causing difficulty in breathing, urgent treatment is needed. Treatment is also given when haemangioma bleeds.
The resolution of haemangioma can take many years, and sometimes the resolution may not be complete. We will monitor your child regularly in our clinics, and if it does not resolve completely by school age (4 years old), we will intervene to ensure that your child does not attend school with obvious disfigurement. Early, unnecessary treatment (e.g. surgery) may result in unwanted scars.
What treatment options are available?
Treatment of haemangioma depends on whether its undertaken to halt its growth (i.e. when your child is very young), or to address the cosmetic effect of haemangioma (i.e. before your child goes to school).
Early treatment to halt the growth of a haemangioma involves:
Propranolol-a heart medication that has been shown to be effective in stopping haemangioma growth.
Steroids-either given by injection or orally.
Laser treatment-usually combined with injection of steroid.
Late treatment if a haemangioma does not completely disappear by school age:
Surgery-to remove any residual haemangioma or loose skin
Laser treatment-to remove the residual colour of haemangioma
Each of these treatment options will be explained to you in the clinic. A treatment plan will be discussed to ensure that your child achieves the best treatment result.
For further information, please contact:
Laser Nurse Specialist. Direct line: 0151 252 5402 or
Mr Liew’s secretary: 0151 2525386
This page only gives general information.You must always discuss the individual treatment of your child with the appropriate member of staff. Do not rely on this page alone for information about your child’s treatment.
This information can be made available in other languages and formats if requested.