Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

A haemangioma is an extra, abnormal collection of blood vessels in the skin. Usually known by everyone as birthmarks, they are also known as vascular tumors. Most common birthmarks in children, they are present at birth or may appear three to six months after birth. These are benign (non-cancerous) growths. They are usually harmless and do not require any treatment as such. Interference is needed only if these growths disturb the vision or breathing.

There is no known cause of haemangiomas. Though they are a bunch of extra blood vessels that are grouped together, there is no known reason as to why these blood vessels come together and group like that. Sometimes, they are speculated to be having a family history, and sometimes they just pop up out of nowhere. So, maybe they are related to some genetic factors. But, whatever, there is no method to prevent a haemangioma from developing, as their actual cause is yet unaccounted for.

What is the Best Treatment for Haemangioma?

Usually, no treatment is needed at all if a haemangioma is considerably small, as it is usually does not present with any symptoms. Most of the times, the haemangioma never grows to cause any issues. Only a regular follow up is enough to help the doctor to see whether it is growing. But, in the rare case that it does, the treatment will entirely depend on the site and the size of the haemangioma. Also, multiple haemangiomas if present will be a deciding factor when it comes to the treatment.

If at all treatment is needed, then there are a number of different options which can be given to you, depending upon your condition and necessity for a particular treatment protocol. These methods generally include prescribing particular medication to shrink the haemangioma, surgery, which is performed differently for different conditions of haemangioma and radiation therapy, which is not exactly a choice of treatment these days, as more safe methods than this one are available nowadays.

Medications in the form of beta blockers, corticosteroids and laser surgery are available these days to take systemically and apply topically to shrink the haemangiomas. If this option does not work, then another option is surgery. If with the help of the surgery, the haemangioma can be removed, this will be the choice of treatment for most of the doctors. Very rarely if needed, a part of the affected organ may have to be removed, if separating only the haemangioma isn’t possible. Another option is to stop the blood supply to the haemangioma, by tying up the artery that sends blood to it. This is called artery ligation. If there is no blood supply to the haemangioma, it will eventually stop growing and may even shrink in size over the period.

As said earlier, radiation therapy is an option, but not a choice of treatment as other safe options are available. Only if those options fail to be of use, then the doctor might consider radiation therapy.

Any of these above-mentioned treatments will be carried out only after weighing proper pros and cons for the treatment, as it is really not necessary at most times to carry out any types of treatment at all. Unnecessary treatment may cause potential side effects.

As haemangiomas do not have a definite cause, it is not possible to prevent them from developing, nor is it possible to cure them by lifestyle changes. And hence, it is difficult to chart out particular lifestyle and diet changes in order to prevent or cure them. But, taking a generally healthy diet and adopting a generally balanced lifestyle never goes to waste.

Haemangiomas are not cancerous growths and they are not harmful for the body. They do not require any treatment most of the times and recede on their own after a few years. Treatment is only carried out when very necessary.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: September 22, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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