What is a hemangioma ?

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Hemangiomas are noncancerous growth of blood vessels which grow over a period of time and commonly subside without any treatment. These are infantile Hemangiomas which are most common tumors or growths in children. In most infants, no problems are caused by the Hemangiomas, however they could ulcerate, bleed and remain open and cause pain. They may be disfiguring depending upon their location and size. Besides this they could occur with other abnormalities of the spine or central nervous system. The blood vessel growth could occur with other internal Hemangiomas as well and affect the liver, brain, organs of the respiratory system and parts of the gastrointestinal system. Generally no problems are caused by Hemangiomas that affect the organs. Hemangiomas can also form in the liver and surface of the liver. Cavernous Hemangiomas grow in cavities of the brain or other cavities within the body.

When blood vessels proliferate abnormally in any one body area, Hemangiomas can form on the fatty layer beneath the skin or top layer of the skin. Its appearance is like a red birthmark, bumps or red scratches on the skin and then gradually it protrudes upward from the skin. As they grow they become burgundy colored and have deep red appearance due to which they are called Strawberry Hemangiomas

Normally during or after the Hemangiomas are formed there are no symptoms. However in case of multiple Hemangiomas and if they grow in sensitive or large body areas, some symptoms are seen. If Hemangioma occurs in the internal organs then symptoms like vomiting, a feeling of fullness in the abdomen, nausea, unexplained loss of weight and discomfort in the abdomen are experienced.

To diagnose skin Hemangiomas, no special tests are done. During a physical examination, the doctor makes a visual diagnosis. CT scan, MRI or ultrasound are the other imaging tests done to detect Hemangiomas on the organs.

No treatment is required in treating small and single Hemangioma as it goes away on its own generally. However, in case of skin Hemangiomas, treatment is necessary as sores or lesions develop. Other treatment options include applying medicated gel, laser treatment, topical beta-blockers, corticosteroid medication and in some cases, even surgery. In case of Hemangiomas on the organs, the Hemangiomas or damaged area or organ are surgically removed or main artery supplying blood to the Hemangiomas is tied off.