Strawberry Haemangioma

A strawberry haemangioma (sometimes also called a strawberry birthmark) occurs when a group of blood vessels become tangled while growing either in, or under a baby’s skin. When they appear, they can cause parents to worry, since they may appear to be a deep bruise or a red bumpy patch.

Overview

Strawberry haemangiomas develop in the first few days or weeks after a baby is born. They may appear more frequently in Caucasian female babies.  Haemangiomas can also develop in organs inside the body, for example in the kidneys, liver, lungs or brain, but they are universally benign, meaning they are not cancerous.



In many cases, a strawberry haemangioma will resolve on its own without causing any problems, but sometimes, depending on the size, appearance and where they present on the body, they might require treatment early, to prevent them from interfering with normal body function, or from resulting in permanent scars.



Symptoms of Strawberry Haemangioma

Strawberry haemangiomas can appear anywhere on the body, and usually present within the first few days or weeks in a newborn.

Congenital haemangiomas grow differently and are treated differently than strawberry haemangiomas, which may also be referred to as infantile strawberry haemangiomas. It is much more common for strawberry haemangiomas to appear in the weeks after birth than it is for them to be present at birth.

There are two main types of strawberry haemangiomas;

  • Superficial - These bumpy and red marks are cutaneous, meaning they are in the skin, and they often resemble the surface of a strawberry.
  • Deep - These grow subcutaneously, meaning underneath the skin , and cause it to bulge, and can often present as a blue or purplish discolouration.

Strawberry haemangiomas may also bleed, or form ulcers.

The majority of strawberry haemangiomas will grow larger over the course of several weeks or months, and then slowly begin to shrink. The fastest growth is usually within the baby’s first 3 months, which can be worrying for parents. Strawberry haemangiomas typically begin to shrink within the first year, and may continue to shrink until the child is 7-10, often to the point that they are no longer noticeable.

Because they grow and change over time, strawberry haemangiomas may also be referred to as tumours, but they are not cancerous and they don’t spread to other areas of the body. Strawberry haemangiomas are not contagious.

As a child gets older, strawberry haemangiomas that have not yet resolved, or are highly visible may be the cause of teasing, and so for some parents, it is valuable to discuss possible treatment options.

Causes of Strawberry Haemangioma

The cause of strawberry haemangioma is unknown, but they occur when a group of blood vessels become tangled while growing either in, or under a baby’s skin.

Treatment of Strawberry Haemangioma at Derma

Most times, strawberry haemangiomas don’t need to be treated, but may be monitored by the GP, which can also involve taking photographs at regular intervals.

While your GP can be very helpful in diagnosing, monitoring and treating cases of infantile strawberry haemangioma, we are more than happy to see patients who prefer to consult a private dermatology specialist.

The appointment will begin with an examination of the infant or child’s skin (also called a skin check) and their medical history. The dermatologist may also ask questions about the parents’ medical histories.

Most cases of infantile strawberry haemangioma don’t require treatment, but in some cases, it might be essential to target the lesion either with an injection of a corticosteroid, or a prescription cream might be applied to assist the body in shrinking the lesion.

If treatment is needed, together with the dermatologist, you will be able to discuss the latest and most effective treatments and explain all potential side-effects, enabling you to select the best option for your child.

Whatever your child’s needs, you can rest assured that Derma will provide the very best care for their sensitive skin, with access to the latest research and treatment methods.

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