Angiomas in infants are benign malformations of blood vessels, often present at birth. They can occur on the face or on various parts of the body. Today, experts distinguish between vascular tumors and capillary malformations. They often worry parents, but they are almost never dangerous and can be treated successfully, as happens at the Bambino Gesù Hospital in Rome, a center specializing in the treatment of these formations.
What are angiomas in babies?
There are two main types of angiomas in children. The most common is infantile hemangioma, which occurs in about 4 out of 100 children. It is a vascular spread, sometimes present at birth. It grows in size and thickness in the first few months of life, causing concern in parents. Infantile hemangioma can also extend to the deep layers of the skin. It has a deep red or purple color, is swollen on the skin and is usually localized on the face. It is hardly dangerous, but it can cause discomfort to the child, from an aesthetic and functional point of view. Then there are capillary malformations, flat spots, also completely benign.
Why are babies born with angiomas?
Angiomas in children are likely to be formed due to a defect in the process of neoangiogenesis, that is, in the formation of new blood vessels. The newborn comes into the world with all the blood vessels that he wants even in adulthood. In some cases, this process continues even after birth. Within the first few weeks of life, hemangioma occurs, a small, conspicuous patch that increases in volume until the age of the ninth month. Sometimes the hemangioma shrinks and becomes almost invisible or disappears. Sometimes it continues and the skin remains swollen and covered by capillaries. Capillary malformations are already present at birth.
What problems do angiomas cause?
Hemangiomas are tufts of extra blood vessels that commonly occur in children. If the lesion is located in a delicate place, for example near the eyelid or mouth, or inside the oral cavity, it can cause functional complications. Larger formations can soften and become infected. Capillary malformations, which are flat, mainly cause aesthetic discomfort.
How are angiomas treated?
An effective drug is propranolol, which was originally indicated for tachycardia and hypertension. It is also on the market in Italy for the treatment of infantile hemangioma, of which it causes a rapid regression. In the initial phase, where the lesion is small and flat, timolol can also be used topically, if instead the formation is greater, the child takes the drug through the mouth. It is a safe and effective treatment without side effects. Capillary malformations are treated with the color laser, which produces a selective light pulse capable of acting on the hemoglobin in these malformations. First, an accurate dermatological examination is performed, then the sessions are fixed with the laser, usually 5 or 6, at a distance of one or two months apart. The treatments must be performed during the winter period because the skin can not be exposed to the sun for a few weeks after the end of treatment.
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