Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.
What is an infantile hemangioma (IH)?
An IH is a common growth found on an infant's skin. It usually appears 1 to 2 months after birth. The cause of an IH is unknown. An IH may happen when blood vessels grow together in one area of your infant's skin. Your infant may be at risk for an IH if he or she was born early or had a low birth weight. Your infant may also be at risk for an IH if he or she has a family member with an IH. Most hemangiomas are harmless and get better without treatment.
What are the signs and symptoms of an IH?
An IH on the surface of your infant's skin may look red and feel raised or rough. An IH that is deeper in your infant's skin may feel flat and look purple, gray, or blue. An IH may appear anywhere on your infant's body, but is most common on the head, face, neck, or chest. Your infant may have 1 or more hemangiomas on his or her skin. An IH may grow quickly during the first 6 months of your infant's life. After this time, an IH usually begins to shrink, flatten, and fade in color.
How is an IH diagnosed and treated?
- Your infant's healthcare provider will examine and measure the IH. The provider will monitor the size of the IH at each visit. If your infant has several hemangiomas on his or her face and chest, the provider may order more tests. Rarely, this is a sign that hemangiomas may also be present on your infant's organs.
- Most hemangiomas will shrink and disappear without treatment. This usually happens before your child is 5 to 9 years of age. If your infant's IH prevents him or her from eating, breathing, hearing, or seeing, it will be removed. The IH may be removed if it becomes an open sore, infected, or bleeds heavily. Medicines, laser therapy, or surgery may be used to shrink or remove the IH.
Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:
- Your infant has trouble breathing.
When should I call my infant's doctor?
- Your infant has a fever.
- Your infant's IH is bleeding.
- Your infant has a new IH on or near his or her eye, mouth, rectum, penis, or vagina.
- Your infant's IH changes in color or looks crusty.
- Your infant has trouble eating or swallowing because of the IH.
- Your infant cries more than usual.
- Your infant's IH is draining pus or looks more swollen.
- You have questions or concerns about your infant's condition or care.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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