Hemangioma is a skin disorder which occurs due to an unusual accumulation of blood vessels resulting in the formation of red scar on or under the skin surface. Hemangioma is a congenital disease and mostly develops when baby is still inside the mother’s womb. Development of hemangioma on the skin or organs cannot be prevented. Hemangioma is also known as vascular tumor. This disease affects about 10% of all the children around the world. Large and multiple hemangiomas lead to the unfavourable scarring of skin that can be emotionally disturbing for a child. A hemangioma lesion grows to 0.5-5 cm in diameter, although in some cases, a lesion can grow up to the diameter of 20 cm.
Causes of Hemangioma
The bundling of blood vessels results in the formation of lump on the skin. However, the exact cause of abnormal growth of blood vessels is not known. The proteins produced in the placenta during the period of gestation maybe one of the possible causes for the development of hemangioma. Hemangioma develops in three stages: Proliferation, Quiescence and Involution.
Hemangiomas often occur on the top layer or subcutaneous layer of the skin. Hemangiomas can also occur in internal organs such as kidneys, colon, liver, lungs and brain. Hemangiomas that develop internally are known as Cavernous hemangiomas.
A patient may not feel any symptom in the initial stages of hemangioma. Hemangioma may cause symptoms if they grow in volume or if they grow in a delicate area. A reddish or purple colored lesion develops on the skin, which generally go unnoticed until multiple lesions form. Some other symptoms of hemangioma include:
Severe hemangioma can affect breathing, vision, or other bodily functions.
Diagnosis of Hemangioma
Hemangioma can be easily diagnosed by performing a physical exam. A doctor may order certain diagnostic tests to detect the abnormal or excessive formation of blood vessels. The diagnostic tests for hemangioma
- Tissue biopsy
- Computerised tomography (CT) scan
- Magnetic Resource Imaging (MRI)
In most of the cases there is no treatment required the scars or lesions developed on the skin fade away on their own. Only some cases require a medical treatment, which may involve surgery and medications. Possible treatments of hemangioma are:
- Medicines such as beta-blockers or steroid injections are used to reduce the size of large hemangioma tumours.
- A low intensity laser beam is used to shrink the hemangioma lesion. The affected area is exposed to a laser beam to minimise scarring and improve the appearance of discoloured skin.
- A gel ointment known as becaplermin is used to treat the ulcers on the surface of skin to reduce inflammation.