A doctor can usually diagnose a hemangioma just by looking at it. Tests usually aren't needed.
Treating hemangiomas usually isn't necessary because they go away on their own with time. But if a hemangioma affects vision or causes other problems, treatments include medications or laser surgery:
- Beta blocker drugs. In small, superficial hemangiomas, a gel containing the drug timolol may be applied to the affected skin. A severe infantile hemangioma may disappear if treated with an oral solution of propranolol. Treatment usually needs to be continued until about 1 year of age. Side effects can include high blood sugar, low blood pressure and wheezing.
- Corticosteroid medications. For children who don't respond to beta blocker treatments or can't use them, corticosteroids may be an option. They can be injected into the nodule or applied to the skin. Side effects can include poor growth and thinning of the skin.
- Laser surgery. Sometimes laser surgery can remove a small, thin hemangioma or treat sores on a hemangioma.
If you're considering treatment for your child's hemangioma, weigh the pros and cons with your child's doctor. Consider that most infantile hemangiomas disappear on their own during childhood and that treatments have potential side effects.
Infantile Hemangiomas- aka "Strawberry" Birthmarks
May 15, 2019
- Kliegman RM, et al. Vascular disorders. In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2020. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 13, 2019.
- Metry DW. Infantile hemangiomas: Management. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Feb. 22, 2019.
- Metry DW. Infantile hemangiomas: Epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical features, and complications. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Feb. 22, 2019.