See your provider for these benign lesions.
The first thing parents want to do when their baby is born is check for ten fingers and ten toes and observe their child’s skin for anything needing attention.
A newborn’s skin may be clear at birth, then you may notice an area that changes in appearance within the first four to six weeks or even by six months. Your health care provider should evaluate your newborn’s skin changes — calledinfantile hemangiomas — that appear after birth.
An infantile hemangioma is a non-cancerous tumor formed from the proliferation of the endothelial cells. It may appear as a red wine or strawberry-colored birthmark and may start to protrude from the skin. Your provider will determine whether you need a referral to a specialist or if only observation is required now.
Hemangiomas grow rapidly for the first few weeks or months and then go through a rest phase by about eight months. They usually begin to shrink at around one year. As the lesion shrinks, the color may change from red to purple to gray. It may take several years for it to go away completely. Larger lesions take longer, and may have a greater chance of scarring.
Infantile hemangiomas may occur anywhere on the skin, but most are seen on the scalp, face and neck and will disappear on their own. Their cause is unknown. They are more common in girls than boys, are often seen in Caucasian children and are frequently found in very small babies or babies born before their due date.
Most infantile hemangiomas will not require treatment. The decision to treat is based on the hemangioma’s size, location and rate of growth and the presence of complications such as ulceration, infection or bleeding. Treatment options include observation, medication, laser treatment or surgical removal.
Sheryl Zang, EdD, FNP, CNS-BC, is an Associate Professor at Downstate Medical Center, College of Nursing. She has been a nurse for 38 years and is presently running groups for diabetic children and teens.