Will my child’s hemangioma just go away?
Hemangiomas don't just 'go away' - they get replaced by fat and scar tissue. It stands to reason then that a very thin, superficial hemangioma has more of a chance of regressing to an acceptable result than a thicker, bulkier one. However, we know that only about 30% of hemangiomas regress to a point where everyone is satisfied with the end result. It is important to have all vascular anomalies evaluated early so that the most efficient treatment plan can be determined for the child.
Is a hemangioma painful to my child?
Hemangiomas are not inherently painful. However, about 10% can ulcerate (the skin breaks down) and this open wound is painful. Ulcerated hemangiomas should definitely be treated early to make the child comfortable and their care easier for the family. Other vascular anomalies such as venous malformations can ache due to formation of blood clots. These also can be treated successfully. Again, the key is early consultation to determine the best course of action.
What are treatment options?
There are many treatment options including observation, medicines, laser therapy and surgery. Often we use combinations of these to obtain the best possible result.
How long is a typical surgery?
Most surgeries for hemangiomas take about an hour and are done in an outpatient facility. Laser treatments take only a few minutes. Of course, there are cases that are more complicated requiring more surgical time and hospitalization but these are not as common.
When is the best time to treat?
Children develop a sense of self image by age 2 1/2 - 3 so our goal is to get the best possible result by that time. This is not always possible but we definitely strive to be finished with the treatments by the time the children enter school which is around age 5.