About Hemangiomas

Hemangiomas are non-cancerous tumors that are red or strawberry-colored when they are located on the skin’s surface and blue-purple when they are in the deeper skin layers. They can appear anywhere on the skin. Many are small and will go away on their own and do not require treatment. However, some hemangiomas can cause complications when they grow to a size that can change the shape of a normal structure, such as a lip or nose, and interfere with a vital function like the eyes, (eyelid hemangiomas) or leave scarring after they resolve. 

The two major types of hemangiomas are:

  • Infantile Hemangioma — These are very common growths and may not be seen at birth, but they can become noticeable within the first few weeks of life. Many stop growing by around five months of life and then begin to slowly go away over time. By the time children reach eight years of age, most hemangiomas have resolved. Many hemangiomas will disappear without scarring; however, some hemangiomas will leave behind skin changes and scarring. Infantile hemangiomas follow different patterns on the skin surface. Focal (localized) hemangiomas have well-defined borders and are on the skin’s surface or just below it and are either red or blue in color.  Segmental hemangiomas cover a broader area. They can be located on the face or the body. Segmental hemangiomas can be associated with other congenital anomalies. Predicting which hemangiomas have the potential to cause problems is essential when making treatment decisions.
  • Congenital Hemangioma — a type of birthmark that happens when a tangled group of blood vessels grow in or under a baby's skin. They can be detected prenatally and are fully formed at birth. Congenital hemangiomas may shrink but do not fully go away. 


Many hemangiomas are visible and harmless, but sometimes they develop a sore which causes pain, bleeding, or infection, which will increase the risk of scarring. When hemangiomas resolve they might leave behind skin changes or a scar that can affect a child's self-esteem.   

Treatments We Offer 

Columbia offers many approaches to managing and treating hemangiomas, including:

  • Medications — the FDA has approved the use of oral propranolol, a beta blocker, to treat infantile hemangiomas.
  • Laser therapy treatment — used for selected infantile hemangiomas to destroy the blood vessels and help the skin return to normal color and texture.  
  • Surgery — an option for certain hemangiomas and can be used to manage skin changes left behind when the hemangiomas regress.

Why Choose Columbia?

Although most hemangiomas are not dangerous many hemangiomas can leave significant scars, and there are ways to improve the long-term outcome of your child’s hemangioma. Columbia’s team of hemangioma experts have the experience and the most advanced techniques to treat your child's hemangioma. In fact, we are founding members of the Hemangioma Investigator Group. We believe in compassionate care to make sure your child and the whole family are comfortable and confident with any treatment we may offer or perform.