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What is a hemangioma?

A hemangioma is a type of birthmark and vascular abnormality, and is the most common benign (non-cancerous) tumor of the skin. Port wine stain, “strawberry hemangiomas” and salmon patch are all “hemangiomas.”


While they may be very faint or invisible at birth, most hemangiomas grow rapidly after birth. Over time, they become smaller and lighter in color. The process of involution may take several years.


A clinical evaluation is called for.


Treatment for hemangiomas depends upon their size, location, and severity. Treatment is usually not recommended for small, non-invasive hemangiomas as they will become smaller on their own. Hemangiomas that cause bleeding problems, feeding or breathing difficulties, growth disturbances, or impairment of vision may require medical or surgical intervention.

Treatment may include the following:

  • steroid medications
  • embolization of the blood vessels (injection of material into the blood vessels to block the blood inflow)
  • laser or surgical removal

Hemangiomas are treated in our  Division of Pediatric Dermatology.