Overview

A hemangioma (he-man-jee-O-muh) is a bright red birthmark that shows up at birth or in the first or second week of life. It looks like a rubbery bump and is made up of extra blood vessels in the skin.

A hemangioma can occur anywhere on the body, but most commonly appears on the face, scalp, chest or back. Treatment for a baby's hemangioma (infantile hemangioma) usually isn't needed as it fades over time. A child who has this condition during infancy usually has little visible trace of the growth by age 10. You may want to consider treatment if a hemangioma interferes with seeing, breathing or other functions.

Symptoms

A hemangioma may be present at birth, but more often appears during the first several months of life. It starts as a flat red mark anywhere on the body, most often on the face, scalp, chest or back. Usually a child has only one mark. Some children may have more than one, particularly if they're part of a multiple birth.

During your child's first year, the red mark grows rapidly into a spongy, rubbery-looking bump that sticks out from the skin. The hemangioma then enters a rest phase and, eventually, it begins to slowly disappear.

Many hemangiomas disappear by age 5, and most are gone by age 10. The skin may be slightly discolored or raised after the hemangioma goes away.

When to see a doctor

Your child's doctor will monitor the hemangioma during routine checkups. Contact your child's doctor if the hemangioma bleeds, forms a sore or looks infected.

Seek medical care if the condition interferes with your child's vision, breathing, hearing or elimination.

Causes

A hemangioma is made up of extra blood vessels that group together into a dense clump. What causes the vessels to clump isn't known.

Risk factors

Hemangiomas occur more often in babies who are female, white and born prematurely.

Complications

Occasionally, a hemangioma can break down and develop a sore. This can lead to pain, bleeding, scarring or infection. Depending on where the hemangioma is situated, it may interfere with your child's vision, breathing, hearing or elimination, but this is rare.

May 15, 2019
  1. 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.
  2. Metry DW. Infantile hemangiomas: Management. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Feb. 22, 2019.
  3. Metry DW. Infantile hemangiomas: Epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical features, and complications. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Feb. 22, 2019.