Hemangiomas are vascular (blood vessel) birthmarks which often become visible a few days to a few weeks after birth. They often appear as “blemishes” over any part of the head, neck, body and limbs, becoming more visible and raised over time. These birthmarks continue to grow in size over several months, often stopping around one year of age. The classic treatment for hemangiomata in areas of the body where the birthmark can grow without invading or obstructing vital organs is observation because the majority of these birthmarks spontaneously regress.
However, some hemangiomata during the proliferative growth phase can obstruct organs such as the eye, impairing vision. Lesions such as these require treatment, which includes oral or injectable corticosteroid and laser. Laser treatments are most effective when the hemangioma is only slightly elevated. The laser beam can only penetrate to certain depths and is less effective in the very elevated lesions because it cannot reach the very big deep blood vessels to destroy them.
However, the laser can be helpful in the large, painful, ulcerated hemangioma where laser treatments have been observed to alleviate the pain and contribute to healing the ulceration.