Infantile hemangiomas (blood sponges)

Pathologically altered in this type of vascular tumor is the inner lining (endothelium) of the finest end vessels (capillaries). Hemangiomas are found in 8-12% of all infants. In premature infants, the number increases up to 22%, especially if the birth weight is less than 1 kg. Girls are more frequently affected in a ratio of 3-5:1. There is no known definite cause for hemangiomas so far. 

Hemangiomas typically appear in the first days or weeks after birth. A special feature of hemangiomas is that they go through three phases: a growth phase, a stasis phase and a regression phase.

During the growth phase, which usually takes place in the first six months of life, the hemangioma grows at different rates. It can spread over the surface, grow in depth, protrude strongly to the outside or all at the same time. The next phase, the growth arrest, is also individually long until the regression phase follows. This can also be a very long process. Usually the complete regression is not completed until the age of 9-10 years.

The smaller hemangiomas remain in their maximum extent, the greater the probability that nothing will be seen of them later. If hemangiomas become larger in volume, areas of remodeled tissue, sagging skin and/or slight discoloration will remain.

Hemangiomas can appear anywhere on the body. If more than five hemangiomas appear on the skin, an examination (ultrasound) of the internal organs should also be performed. This is easily possible in our clinic, as we always have an ultrasound machine available in the hemangioma consultation.

If the hemangioma is located flat within a certain section (segment), especially on the face, the possibility of a syndrome such as PHACE syndrome must be considered.