Hemangiomas are the most common type of benign blood-vessel growths that occur in infants and children. They are frequently located on the face, but can occur anywhere. Most appear within the first few weeks of birth, and most regress within a few years. Large or disfiguring hemangiomas, or hemangiomas that fail to regress, require surgical removal.
While the infant is deep asleep and pain-free (using general anesthesia), the hemangioma is removed. If the hemangioma is large, the site is covered with a skin graft.
Cosmetic repair depends on the size of the lesion and the surgeon's skill. Generally, the long-term prognosis is quite good. The hospital stay is two to five days, depending on the extent of surgery. Complete healing takes up to six weeks.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.