Which specialist consultations are indicated in the treatment of infantile hemangiomas?

Updated: Nov 09, 2020
  • Author: Richard J Antaya, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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An ophthalmologist or a pediatric ophthalmologist should evaluate children with periorbital hemangiomas, particularly with involvement of the upper eyelid. Refraction with retinoscopy is performed to evaluate for visual disturbances, particularly astigmatism, and to prevent visual deprivation amblyopia. Also see Capillary Hemangioma in the Medscape Reference Ophthalmology section.

Infants with rapidly growing hemangiomas that are impinging on vital structures of the head and neck, particularly the airway or auditory canals, should be referred to an otolaryngologist or a pediatric otolaryngologist for evaluation and treatment. Infants with large V3 dermatomal hemangiomas (beard area hemangiomas) have a higher incidence of upper airway hemangiomas, and early consultation for mild signs or symptoms (noisy breathing or stridor) may prevent possible future complications.

Consultation with a plastic surgeon is indicated for symptomatic involuting or proliferating lesions that are unresponsive to medical therapy and for which surgical excision is being contemplated.

The presence of an infantile hemangioma over the midline lumbar back may be a cutaneous sign of an underlying occult spinal dysraphism, such as a tethered cord. MRI or ultrasonography if the infant is younger than 5 months is indicated for midline hemangiomas, especially if any other signs of spinal dysraphism (eg, deviated gluteal cleft, atypical sacral dimple, tuft of hair, tail) are present. MRI is the more sensitive study, even in infancy, and should be considered when clinical suspicion is high. Consultation with a pediatric neurosurgeon should be sought for any questionable or worrisome lesions.

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