What is an infantile hemangioma?

Updated: Nov 09, 2020
  • Author: Richard J Antaya, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Infantile hemangiomas are benign vascular neoplasms that have a characteristic clinical course marked by early proliferation and followed by spontaneous involution. During the proliferative phase in the neonatal period or early infancy, a rapidly dividing endothelial cell proliferation is responsible for the enlargement of infantile hemangiomas. Finally, an involutional phase occurs, whereby most infantile hemangiomas are clinically resolved by age 9 years.

Hemangiomas are the most common tumors of infancy, and most infantile hemangiomas are medically insignificant. Occasionally infantile hemangiomas may impinge on vital structures, ulcerate, bleed, cause high-output cardiac failure or significant structural abnormalities or disfigurement. Rarely, a cutaneous infantile hemangioma may be associated with one or more underlying congenital anomalies.

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