Research shines more light on infantile hemangiomas

August 26, 2008

San Francisco - New research suggests that rapid growth of infantile hemangiomas requires close observation in the first months of life, and that any treatment should be undertaken promptly, Reuters Health reports.

San Francisco — New research suggests that rapid growth of infantile hemangiomas requires close observation in the first months of life, and that any treatment should be undertaken promptly, Reuters Health reports.

Infantile hemangiomas usually resolve by the age of 9. They are the most common tumors in infants and, aside from cosmetic concerns, most have no medical significance.

In their study, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, determined the specific growth characteristics of hemangiomas in 433 infants with a total of 526 hemangiomas. They found that 80 percent of hemangioma size was reached by 5 months of age in most cases, and that overall growth was nearly always complete by 9 months.

The study also finds that hemangiomas affecting only the upper layers of skin are more likely to start resolving during the first 18 months of life, while deeper hemangiomas are more likely to continue growing.

Reuters Health quotes lead author Ilona J. Frieden, M.D., as saying, “Not all hemangiomas need treatment — actually, themajority does not — but a significant minority does. So the real message of our study is that patients with hemangiomas that are at high risk for complication or need … treatment should be identified early and referred as soon as possible.”