A hemangioma falls into the category of vascular birthmarks. This means that it is a type of birthmark that has blood vessels in it. People confuse birthmarks or vascular birthmarks with hemangiomas because they think all birthmarks are hemangiomas, or that hemangiomas kind of cover all types of birthmarks. This isn’t the case. A hemangioma specifically differs dramatically from a capillary malformation (like a port wine stain), a venous malformation, a lymphatic malformation, arteriovenous malformation, or other types of birthmarks and moles which can be red, they can be white, they can be brown, they can be any color. A hemangioma in general is a vascular tumor. It is a benign tumor. It does not mean that it’s a cancer that grows. It’s just simply an overgrowth of endothelial blood vessels. It tends to happen at about 3-4% of the population that we know about. Most likely it happens in more of the population, but it’s not reported. Hemangiomas can be tiny little small things that are on your eyelid as you’re born, or they can be large and deforming. Overall, hemangiomas are present at birth. They could be present before birth. The thing that you need to know about hemangiomas, though, is that they tend to grow. The old teachings that we had in medical school (even when I was in medical school, which wasn’t that long ago) was that hemangiomas don’t need to be treated, that they go away. The reality is that’s completely wrong – in some cases. You have to treat it like a vascular tumor, which is that it’s going to grow over time.
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