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Vascular Birthmarks

Updated: Friday, May 21,2010, 3:31:03 PM
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Birthmarks are found on babies' skin.  They appear when the baby is born or they show up in the first few weeks or months of life. A congenital nevi or mole is one type of birthmark.  Another, more common type is called a vascular birthmark. They are the result of blood vessels that have gathered closely together, just under the surface of the skin, hence the name.  The common ones are:

    * macular stains
    * hemangiomas
    * port wine stains

Macular stains

Macular stains are the most common type of vascular birthmark. They are usually faint red marks that can appear anywhere on the body. They are commonly called "angel's kisses" when they appear on the forehead or the eyelids and "stork bites" when they are on the back of the neck. Many times macular stains will disappear before a child even gets to school. The ones on the back of the neck however often last much longer. they are not a problem and require no treatment at all.

Hemangioma is a term given to a mass of blood vessel growths that collect and fill with blood. AAD says there are two main types:

    * Strawberry - where the growth is close to the surface of the skin and can be raised.
    * Cavernous - are usually deeper under the skin and often involve more pooling of blood. They are blue in color as a result.

Hemangiomas can appear anywhere on the body, including the face. For some reason they are more common on girls and premature babies.  They aren't usually visible at birth but show up later. They can grow rapidly but usually stop after about a year and then will start to fade and go flat, with 90 percent flat by age nine. Most completely fade but sometimes a faint mark is left. AAD says there is no way to predict how a hemangioma will act. Though most of the time there are no problems, it is advisable to have your doctor involved if you see a hemangioma forming on your child. One that forms near body openings (including the genitals, rectum, mouth, nose or even the eyes) can cause problems. They also can become an open sore or bleed. Treatment options, if there are problems, should be discussed with your doctor.
Port wine stains

Port wine stains are lifelong vascular birthmarks that affect about 3 in 1,000 children that are born each year. They are flat with colorations that range from pink through dark purple. They are most common on the face, neck, arms and legs. As a person ages, they can thicken and develop bumps. Port wine stains can have complications if they are on the face near the eyes. AAD says glaucoma  can occur in up to 25 percent of people with stains on their eyelids or forehead. The major complication however can be emotional with corresponding impacts on a person life. Make-up to cover the stain has been the major treatment for many people. Laser treatments are now showing various degrees of success in removing port wine stains. treatment is most successful the earlier it begins. It is however not always successful but many people have improvement.

Tags: Vascular Birthmarks

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