Strawberry Hemangioma – Strawberry hemangioma, or strawberry nevus, is a birthmark named due to its color. The red tinge comes from a group of blood vessels that are located close to the surface of the skin. Although a hemangioma is referred to as a birthmark, it does not always appear at birth. It may appear a few weeks after birth and often fades by the time children reach their tenth year.

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Strawberry HemangiomaSymptoms Of Strawberry Hemangioma

These birthmarks can appear on different parts of the body, but they are typically found on the face, back, scalp and chest. Hemangioma of infancy is considered one of the most common types of skin birthmarks that occur in infants by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital [1].

There are three types of strawberry nevus:

Capillary hemangiomas

This type of hemangioma usually appears close to the skin surface and is triggered by the growth of blood vessels referred to as capillaries. These capillaries are bound together with connective tissue. When the group of blood vessels is quite large, the lesion may be raised and acquire a spongy texture. This is a common form of hemangioma.

Deep hemangiomas

As the name suggests, deep hemangiomas are buried deeper into the skin’s tissue and can appear purple or blue. They are also referred to as cavernous hemangiomas.

Superficial hemangiomas

Superficial hemangiomas can either be even or raised on a child’s skin are typically bright red.

Combined hemangiomas

This is a combination of superficial and deep hemangiomas. This is different compared to port-wine stains, as the latter usually appear on the face and are often permanent.

Appearance And Causes Of Strawberry HemangiomaAppearance And Causes Of Strawberry Hemangioma

Hemangiomas are usually oval or round, but they may also appear as larger lesions that can follow the shape of the body part on which they appear. The size can vary. The smallest is around 1 mm while the larger ones can reach 20 cm and beyond.

There is no sure cause why infantile hemangioma develops, but there are a few common facts. This birthmark tends to appear more often in children who are Caucasian and occur more frequently in girls than in boys.

They tend to be seen in babies who are quite small or preterm infants. Children who have hemangiomas usually have only one, but there are some who have a few on their bodies. It is quite rare for a child to have this birthmark both on their skin as well as on their internal organs.

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Dangers Of Infantile HemangiomasDangers Of Infantile Hemangiomas

The presence of infantile hemangiomas may come with complications such as the following:

Ulceration

The skin that is covering a strawberry hemangioma can break down to the point that it looks raw or shiny. Sometimes, crusts and scabs may appear. Ulcerated lesions may cause discomfort and pain in children. This can make babies feel irritable and may prevent them from sleeping well. When ulceration occurs, there is a chance that infection can set in and scarring may develop. In this case, consider calling a pediatrician.

Disrupts organ function

When facial hemangiomas grow, they can actually disrupt the function of the organ where the birthmark appears. Typically, this affects the eyes as the large-sized birthmark can limit a little one’s eyesight. Aside from the eyes, consult a doctor when the birthmark appears near the diaper area or the mouth.

Bleeding

The skin that covers the birthmark protects it from bleeding. When it is cut, it will bleed rapidly, but in a short while, crusts and scabs will appear. Stem the flow of blood by applying pressure on it for 15 minutes. If the cut continues to bleed, consult a doctor.

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Strawberry Hemangioma Causes and LongevityStrawberry Hemangioma Causes And Longevity

Infantile hemangiomas or strawberry hemangiomas do not often appear on a newborn’s skin, but they can form during the 3rd and 5th week with rapid growth during the first six months. On a child’s first birthday, the lesion will have peaked in its size. By the age of two to three, these lesions often disappear.

Cavernous hemangiomas usually appear at birth and do not grow or disappear quickly. However, more than 90% of the birthmark typically disappears by the time a child has hit puberty.

Hemangiomas are usually diagnosed with the aid of a physical exam. There are times when a specialist will require blood tests or magnetic resonance imaging to monitor the growth of the lesion.

Possible Treatments for Strawberry HemangiomaPossible Treatments For Strawberry Hemangioma

Possible treatments for a strawberry birthmark (infantile hemangioma) include a prescription of propranolol. This is a type of beta-blocker that is often used to treat heart problems.

Studies show that it helps reduce the size of the hemangiomas of infancy [2]. This medication should be given under strict supervision as it can affect blood pressure.

For children who are not allowed to take this medication because of complications, some topical or oral corticosteroids may help reduce the size of the lesion. However, this treatment can also have some side effects. Antibiotics may be suggested in the case of ulcerations on the skin.

Sometimes, a doctor suggests surgery to prevent multiple hemangiomas, especially when these lesions are preventing the organs from functioning wholly.

Vascular tumors can be removed through laser therapy before the wound is stitched closed. Complications may arise through such as bleeding, plus there is a possibility that the infantile lesions return.

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Other Treatments For Strawberry HemangiomaOther Treatments For Strawberry Hemangioma

Avoid scraping or scratching strawberry hemangiomas as this can lead to ulcers forming or bleeding. Here are a few ways to deal with hemangiomas in children safely.

Avoid using soaps

To prevent the surrounding skin from drying out, avoid using soap on the skin and opt for plain creams for protection.

Apply sunscreen

Another way to treat hemangiomas is to apply sunscreen regularly. Choose higher SPF sunscreens, and protect the lesion from being exposed to the sun.

Call a doctor

When ulcers start to appear on the skin or the appearance of a hemangioma changes, call a doctor and have it checked.

Apply pressure

For hemangiomas that were accidentally scraped or cut, get a clean cloth and press down on the affected area. If the bleeding continues, have it checked by a specialist.

Use plain warm water

It is possible to wash the area with warm water, but avoid rubbing the hemangioma as this can break the skin. Allow the lesion to air dry before covering it with a non-sticky type of dressing to avoid damaging the ulcerated lesion.

Although strawberry hemangiomas can disappear on their own, there are instances when complications may arise. There are no preventive measures for hemangiomas, but there are possible treatments available.

The use of beta-blockers has been found to be effective, but they must not be used too often as it may cause complications with blood pressure.

Corticosteroids may also contribute to the healing of the ulcers, but exercise caution as side effects may occur. For severe cases, surgery is often recommended to help remove the lesions and to seal the wound properly.

In minor cases, the use of home remedies may prevent the skin issue from worsening. Most importantly, keep your little one from scratching it. This prevents the skin from breaking and causing further complications.

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Strawberry Hemangioma Resources:

[1]   Cincinnati Children’s; Hemagiomas Infantile, February 2017.
[2]   MedlinePlus; Propanolol (Infantile Hemangioma), American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, May 07, 2019.

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Strawberry Hemangioma - Symptoms, Causes & Treatments | MADE OF
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[QUESTION] What is a strawberry hemangioma? [ANSWER] Strawberry Hemangioma - Strawberry hemangioma, or strawberry nevus, is a birthmark named due to its color. The red tinge comes from a group of blood vessels that are located close to the surface of the skin.
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