Congenital hemangioma

7 facts about congenital hemangioma

1. Hemangioma is congenital vascular tumor, which could be present at birth or becomes visible during the first 6 weeks of life;
2. Congenital hemangioma is benign tumor and never becomes malignant;
3. From the first year of life hemangioma starts to disappear, this is called regression or involution of hemangioma. 1 cm of pathological tissue disappears in 3-4 years;
4. When  hemangioma starts to disappear it will never starts to grow again;
5. Growing hemangioma may cause irreversible deformations;
6. Growing hemangioma has high risk of  complications (ulceration and bleeding);
7. Hemangiomas on the face, fingers and genitals should be treated immediately.

Congenital hemangioma

Congenital hemangioma – the most common benign congenital tumour, which never becomes malignant. It becomes visible after birth or during the first 6 weeks after birth as pink spot on the skin. The hemangioma may start to grow rapidly at the end of the second month of life, rising above the surface of the skin or spreading as flat spot on the surface of the skin. The hemangioma can grow for the first year of life or sometimes even longer. The growing hemangioma destroys tissue and may cause irreversible deformations. If hemangiomas are on the chin, lower lip or oral cavity there is a possibility of an airway hemangioma, which can cause breathing disturbances. In the case of a patient having 3 or more skin hemangiomas, ultrasound examination should be done due to the possibility of hemangiomas in the organs of abdominal cavity. The hemangioma could ulcerate and bleed. This is a common complication of the disease. Ulceration causes pain. From the 1st year of child the hemangioma starts to disappear, this is called regression or involution of hemangioma. Regression of the tumour is a slow process; 1 cm of pathological tissue disappears in 3-4 years. After the involution it is common for scars, pigmentation and skin texture changes to remain. The duration of the disease, prognosis and residuals depend on where the tumour is and how rapidly it grows. About 70 % of hemangiomas require no treatment at all. If the tumour is small and causes no functional and esthetical impairment the treatment is not necessary. Hemangiomas on the face, genitals and palms should be treated immediately. Others should be under observation for 6-8 weeks. If the growth of the tumour is obvious – it should be treated.


Treatment of hemangiomas by the laser is a safe and effective method and is the first choice of treatment in many countries. This method does not remove the hemangiomas imediatelly. The laser beam destroys the feeding vessels of the tumour, the growth of hemangioma stops and starts to regress later. The methods and equipment used, as well as the quantity of procedures, depend on the size and location of the hemangioma.


Large and rapidly growing hemangiomas could be treated by medications, which stop the formation of pathological vessels. Nowadays propranolol treatment is widely used.


Surgical treatment is very effective, but requires general anesthesia and is mostly used for the removal of residuals or tissue deformations.


Who performs it?

M.Kaupienė, G.Pošiūnas