Removing Hemangiomas with Laser Cosmetic Surgery

Hemangiomas, which are commonly referred to as strawberries, are collections of extra blood vessels in the skin. The name hamangiomas comes from the word "hemangio," which means blood vessel, and "oma," which means tumor. A benign growth, skin strawberries very in appearance based upon the depth of the extra blood vessels in the skin.

Hemangiomas are birthmarks that are found in approximately 10% of babies by the time they turn one, making it one of the most common types of birthmarks. Many are not physically present at birth, but develop within the first few weeks or months of the child's life. Doctors do not know what causes hemangiomas, though they do rarely fun in families. In addition, a parent who has one child with a hemangioma does not have an increased likelihood of having another child with one. Hemangiomas are more commonly found in girls than in boys and are also more common in premature infants.

Types of Hemangiomas

There are three main types of hemangiomas: strawberry, deep (or cavernous), and combined. The strawberry hemangioma is located on the skin and is bright red and contains a well defined border. The deep or cavernous hemangioma starts from beneath the skin and is characterized by soft mass of skin that is bluish or skin colored. As the name implies, the combined hemangioma is both superficial, like the strawberry, and deep, like the deep hemangioma.

Removing Hemangiomas with Laser Cosmetic Surgery

Most often, hemangiomas are not present or noticeable at the birth of the child. Within the first one to two months, however, the marks become visible. From one to six months of age, they generally grow rapidly but begin to shrink, or involute, at around twelve to eighteen months. 30% of hemangiomas go away on there own by the time the child is three years old and 50% are gone by the time the child is five years old. 80-90% go away by the time the child reaches nine years of age. In all, approximately half resolve themselves completely with no residual marks without any form of treatment.

In some cases, however, treatment is recommended. Some can cause medical problems, such as bleeding, ulceration, crusting, or infection. In addition, some hemangiomas are in areas that can affect a vital organ, such as an ear, an eye, or a windpipe. Some also grow rapidly and can cause deformation of the surrounding tissues. In addition, the location of a hemangioma can be emotionally traumatic for a child, making removal with laser cosmetic surgery an option for parents to seriously consider.

Laser treatment is not effective for deep or cavernous hemangiomas because they are characterized by raised tissue. In this case, the hemangioma may need to be surgically removed. To remove strawberry hemangiomas, however, a pulsed dye laser can be an effective treatment. Generally, a series of treatments with the pulsed dye laser is needed and these treatments will be spaced two to four weeks apart.

Although it is not always recommended to have hemangiomas removed, it is important to talk the possibility over with your doctor or a specialist. This is particularly true if the hemangioma is in an area that can become easily irritated, such as in the folds of the skin or in areas where clothing commonly rubs. In addition, having a hemangioma in a prominent area, such as on the face, can cause social problems for a child when he or she begins interacting with his or her peers. Therefore, removal through laser cosmetic surgery may be the right choice for you and your child.