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Strawberry Hemangioma - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


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Strawberry hemangiomas are a type of vascular birthmark. They appear on the surface of the skin as red-blue spongy masses. Infantile hemangiomas are benign vascular neoplasms that have a characteristic clinical course marked by early proliferation and followed by spontaneous involution. Strawberry hemangioma occurs most commonly on the face, scalp, chest or back. It may be present at birth but it appears more commonly during the first one or two months of life. In rare cases, they may also occur on internal organs, such as the liver, spleen or pancreas and interfere with them and are associated with life-threatening complications. Hemangiomas can be vivid superficial lesions, or they can appear as a bluish swelling if they are under the skin. They are benign endothelial cell neoplasms that are typically absent at birth and characteristically have rapid growth in infancy with spontaneous involution later in life. Hemangiomas are usually present at birth, although they may appear within a few months after birth, often beginning at a site that has appeared slightly dusky or colored differently than the surrounding tissue.

Strawberry hemangiomas are a type of birthmark. Most children with hemangiomas have only one. Many have a few. Rarely, children may have many, both on the skin and in the internal organs. Some have enough extra vascular tissue to cause anemia or platelet problems. An hemangioma by the eye might block the child's vision, or one by a child's nose or mouth might interfere with breathing or eating, and might need to be treated with steroids and lasers. Although hemangiomas are benign, some serious complications can occur. Occasionally, hemangiomas may impinge on vital structures, ulcerate, bleed, or cause high-output cardiac failure or significant structural abnormalities. Most hemangiomas grow rapidly, doubling their size, and then plateau for a while before collapsing and disappearing. No treatment is necessary for salmon patches, which usually fade within the first year of life. For most strawberry hemangiomas, the best cosmetic results are achieved when the birthmarks are allowed to go away naturally, without treatment.

Causes of Strawberry hemangioma

The exect cause of strawberry hemangiomas is unknown. In very rare instances they may run in families, but in general they are not inherited. Hemangiomas are more common in girl babies than boys. They are also more commonly seen in premature infants. Hemangiomas of the eyelid may interfere with the development of normal vision and must be treated in the first few months of life. A risk factor is something that increases your chances of getting a disease or condition. Your baby is more likely to have a hemangioma if it is female and caucasian.

Common causes and risk factors of Strawberry hemangioma:

  • Blood vessels.
  • Family history of these vascular birthmarks.

Signs and Symptoms of Strawberry hemangioma

A hemangioma may be present at birth or appear during the first several weeks of life. A strawberry hemangioma may cause other symptoms if its location interferes with a vital organ. For example, a lesion on the neck could press down on the trachea and interfere with breathing, and a hemangioma near the eye or on the ear could limit vision or affect hearing. The vast majority of hemangiomas are benign and resolve on their own without a trace by a child's first birthday. A small minority, however, may lead to complications.

Sign and symptoms may include the following:

  • Headaches.
  • A red to reddish-purple, raised lesion on the skin.
  • Seizures.
  • A massive, raised tumor with blood vessels.
  • Bleeding.

Treatment for Strawberry hemangioma

Strawberry hemangioma are often not treated. Port-wine stains can be covered with opaque cosmetic creams such as Dermablend or Covermark. There are many make-up products that effectively cover up birthmarks. These are sometimes referred to as corrective cosmetics and include concealers, neutralizers, and camouflage products. In some cases, a laser may be used to eradicate the small vessels.Lasers emitting yellow light selectively damage the vessels in the hemangioma without damaging the overlying skin. Some physicians are using a combination of steroid injection and laser therapy together.

Treatment may include:

  • Topical steroid formulations, such as clobetasol propionate cream, can be applied topically to the lesion.
  • Consultations with a pediatrician may be necessary to monitor for the systemic adverse effects if prednisone is used or if there is suspicion of systemic involvement.
  • Laser surgery has been attempted to ameliorate capillary hemangiomas but still is controversial. The hemostatic effects of the carbon dioxide laser have been used with success to surgically remove these lesions.
  • Systemic corticosteroids are used for amblyogenic life-threatening lesions.