What is a Hemangioma? Hemangioma is a harmless tumor formed by the abnormal accumulation and growth of blood vessels. The reason for hemangioma is unknown. Hemangioma usually shows up on your skin, on the head especially, face and neck. It may form in the very best skin layers (capillary) or deeper in the skin (cavernous). It could also appear on the internal organs like liver, vertebrae and spine. The word hemangioma originates from Greek words meaning “blood-vessel-tumor”.
These lesions are the most typical benign tumors in children. These lesions may be present at birth as birth marks having faint reddened areas or develop after birth in the first months. These tumors develop quickly for about a year Usually. Then there is a resting phase with little change in appearance for another twelve months. Then your involution phase begins and causes the lesions to decrease in size and disappear in a decade. In rare circumstances it could persist beyond a decade.
Earlier the term hemangioma was used to denote a number of vascular lesions of infancy and years as a child. Mulliken JB. and Glowacki J. classified these conditions into hemangiomas and vascular malformations. Hemangiomas have a proliferating stage characterized by endothelial hyperplasia which causes rapid development of tumor. Then there can be an involution phase with histological fibrosis and extra fat deposition followed by a regression stage. Beneath the microscope, these lesions appear as aggregates of carefully loaded capillaries filled up with blood having endothelial coating. Vascular malformations are usually seen at birth and they grow proportionately with the child-growth.
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Vascular malformations consist of abnormal arteries, veins and capillaries and are permanent essentially. This categorization helps in deciding on the kind of treatment required, if any. The precise cause of this harmless tumor is unidentified. Several hypotheses and views have been suggested as it can be factors behind these lesions. Several studies suggested a role for the estrogen hormone for his or her development.
A study recommended that higher degrees of estrogen circulating in the newborn blood in conjunction with the localized cells hypoxia may be considered a cause or a triggering factor for these lesions. Another study hypothesized that embolisms of maternal placenta on to dermis of fetus may be the reason for hemangioma. However this view was contradicted by the DNA studies of the lesion and mother cells.
More research is required to know the reason for the explosive rate of development of these tumors. Hemangioma is more prevalent in Caucasian infants than in Asian infants. It is rarely found in African-American newborns. About 5% of Caucasian infants are born with these lesions. The reason for this ethnic deviation is unknown.
The low amount of melanocytes present in fairer epidermis may be a cause for the development of the tumors. Premature babies and small infants are more susceptible to have or develop these tumors. Further, when compared to males more number of female infants are affected. These tumors have prospect of complications and long term scarring.