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Hemangioma and other Vascular Anomalies (Pediatric)

Make an appointment. Call (212) 305-9770.

What are vascular anomalies?

Vascular anomalies refer to a rare group of disorders of abnormal growth of vascular tissue and/or extra blood vessels. Vascular anomalies are benign, not cancer; they usually are superficial and occur on the skin, however, they may involve an internal organ such as the liver. Most hemangiomas do not cause physical problems and may involute and disappear over time. Occasionally they may be associated with skin ulceration, low platelet counts, and bleeding.

They are broadly categorized as:

  • Hemangioma
  • Venous malformations
  • Port-wines stains
  • Lymphangioma

Who is affected by vascular anomalies?

They occur in nearly 10 percent of Caucasian children and are less prevalent in other ethnicities. Girls are three to five times more likely to have vascular anomalies than boys. Vascular anomalies usually appear in the first few weeks of life.

What are the symptoms of vascular anomalies?

Symptoms pertain to appearance, including:

  • Most hemangiomas are located on the face and neck, legs, and arms.
  • Resemble a ripe strawberry on the skin surface.
  • Under the skin, they often appear as a bluish swelling.

The next most common location of hemangiomas is on the liver.

How are vascular anomalies diagnosed?

Diagnosis of vascular anomalies entails:​​​

  • History
  • Physical examination
  • Ultrasound
  • CT scan
  • Vascular flow study

What is the treatment for vascular anomalies?

Treatment of vascular anomalies includes:​

  • Observation
  • Medication such as propanolol
  • Interventional radiology
  • Surgery

ColumbiaDoctors Children’s Health has a comprehensive multi-specialty vascular anomalies program that brings together a team of specialists from dermatology, surgery, hematology/oncology, diagnostic and interventional radiology and neuroradiology, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, cardiology, neurology, genetics, and vascular biology.