Learn More About Infantile Hemangioma
What is the Infantile hemangioma?
It is a benign vascular tumor formed by endothelial cells, that normally form the inner portion of blood vessels. It may be superficial, only in the skin or deep. Usually the first presentation is a small stain, that appears soon after birth or in the first weeks of life. Infentile hemangiomas affects about 5% of live births. In 20% of cases they may require treatment. It is more common in girls and premature infants, and for this last reason associated with children who were born with low birth weight.
How does the tumor evolve?
In the early stage called proliferative phase, the tumor grows rapidly and can reach considerable dimensions. Proliferation must occur up to 12 months of age or, more rarely, until the second year of life. Then, a spontaneous regression occurs, which in about 70% of the lesions, is completed until the age of seven years old.
When is treatment indicated?
Most infantile hemangiomas regress spontaneously without complication. However, infants should be followed up. Approximately 20% of cases require treatment, because they present larger lesions, or even small lesions with development of ulceration, infection or bleeding. Also in specific locations the possibility of enlargement brings a risks of deformities or obstruction, mainly visual and respiratory.
And how is the treatment?
When indicated, treatment is performed with medications, by surgeries or both.
Pharmacological treatment is usually made with beta-blockers, with propranolol being the most used drug.
Corticosteroids such as prednisone or other medications may be used when there is no response or contraindications to the use of propranolol. Beta blockers such as propranolol have been introduced for about 8 years and have a higher efficacy rate and less frequent and serious adverse effects.
In addition, its use may prevent surgery, reduce its size or allow its postponement. Only doctors should prescribe pharmacologic treatment.
Surgical treatment is indicated in cases when there is a potential risk for functional impairment or deformity, for emergency situations, but also in residual lesions after partial spontaneous regression.