What Is An Ulcerated Hemangioma?

What is an Ulcerated Hemangioma?

An ulcerated hemangioma is a lesion which has eroded away and exposed the already affected skin area. Unlike a localized infantile hemangioma, ulcerated ones are stubborn to treat and cause risk of infections. They are usually painful and cause the patient discomfort. A hemangioma is a noncancerous mass that consists of excess blood vessels. The reason for the disorder is unexplainable, but it is known that they do not last forever. They are common among caucasian babies, with girls being affected more than boys. Although it is more of an infant illness, even adults can develop hemangiomas, especially in their internal organs.

What Is An Ulcerated Hemangioma?

How Does a Hemangioma Become Ulcerated?

There is no definitive cause as to why hemangiomas become ulcerated. However, bleeding and ulceration are common complications of a hemangioma. A typical hemangioma is dome-shaped, round and raised with a strawberry-red coloration, that often starts out as a patch. During the proliferation stage of the growth, there is a likelihood that the skin will break on the epithelial surface of the lesion. The breaking exposes the affected skin which in turn forms ulcers, which are usually painful. The first signs of ulceration are black spots on the hemangioma’s red patch. Early white discoloration of an infantile hemangioma is also a warning sign of an impending ulceration.

Risks Arising From Ulcerated Hemangiomas

An ulcerated hemangioma causes problems of bleeding as well as exposure to infections. It is important that a blood vessel mass that forms ulcers be treated immediately to avoid anemia. However, heavy bleeding does not occur often and is not life-threatening. On the other hand, infections pose a greater risk of life-threatening problems, especially in infants. This is because their immune system is under development and cannot handle severe infections.

Ulceration is common in hemangioma tumors located on the lower lip, anogenital areas, armpits, and neck. If the ulceration occurs on an infantile hemangioma in the diaper area, a baby cannot sit properly and do not like being held. Whenever they urinate or have a bowel movement, the pain is usually too much to handle and they cry a lot during a diaper change. For infants with ulcerations on their lips, they find it hard to feed. Among the types of hemangiomas – superficial, deep and mixed – patients with the latter form or segmental hemangiomas are more likely to experience ulceration.

Treating Ulcerated Hemangiomas

To prevent further complications from ulcerated hemangiomas, it is important that they are treated immediately. The course of action needs to deal with the pain as well as the ulcerated lesion to promote healing. The wound should be taken care of by dressing it and applying barrier cream. In areas such as the anogenital areas, it might be difficult treating the ulcerated hemangioma in infants. Frequent change of diapers is advised and use of creams and ointments rich in zinc oxide. Pain medications should also be administered in the process to ease the pain from the ulcerated hemangioma. To prevent bleeding, one should apply pressure on the wound for a few minutes. Since the bleeding is not usually heavy, a little compression ceases the bleeding. In case of risk of infections, the antibiotic ointments should be applied to avoid most of the minor infections.


Hemangiomas are a vascular tumor that affects about 10% of newborns. Out of the 10% case scenarios, ulceration occurs in up to 5% on the hemangioma lesions. There are two major signs of possible ulceration, which include early white discoloration and black spots on the lesions. Other than that, causes of ulceration are rare on hemangiomas that do not exhibit the named traits. It is important that you know treating such kinds of vascular tumors takes time and is usually difficult. As a mother, it is important that you are constantly there for your baby and make sure that you follow the doctor’s recommendations. On top of that ensure you monitor the ulcerated hemangioma constantly and watch out for any alarming signals.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 26, 2019

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