A strawberry hemangioma is the medical term for a red birthmark common on infants and young children. They rarely pose any threat to the baby’s health unless it’s due to their location or size. Surgery, no matter how routine, is always dangerous and careful consideration should be given before electing to have a harmless birthmark removed. Rarely will a doctor recommend any surgery or treatment for a strawberry hemangioma strictly for cosmetic reasons. |
The best place to go for questions regarding hemangiomas is your baby’s pediatrician. He will probably have already noticed it and explained to you what it is and is not; but he will welcome any further questions you have as your child grows. Strawberry hemangiomas are more common in girls than boys, may show up after birth, and can be located anywhere on the body. One study concluded that 4 – 5 % of all light skinned births will have or develop a strawberry hemangioma.
There is no real cause, or risk factors, for strawberry hemangiomas. Most of these birthmarks are painless and cause the infant or child no problems. Generally they will shrink and fade over time, with most be gone completely before the age of ten. If a hemangioma is located in a place that impairs vision or hinders some other activity, laser surgery may be used to remove it. Laser surgery is not recommended for cosmetic reasons, as the surgery can have side effects. Another possible treatment for strawberry hemangiomas that impair some function is steroids; but they are never used for cosmetic reasons as they too can have serious side effects when used in infants. Other treatments being developed involved beta blockers and embolization. But neither are these to be used for cosmetic reasons.
If your baby has a red birthmark, do not be alarmed. It is likely harmless and will go away over time. Even if the mark is easily noticed, do not be embarrassed or anxious. Your baby is perfectly healthy.
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