Infantile/Ulcerated Cavernous Hemangiomas

Also known as: hemangioma, infantile hemangioma, superficial hemangioma, mixed hemangioma, birthmark.

What are ulcerated cavernous hemangiomas?

The term hemangioma refers to a common collection of blood vessels on or under the skin (cutaneous) that usually develops in white babies (girls more often than boys), of low birth weight, within the first 6 months after birth.

There are 3 general types:

  • ​Superficial hemangiomas
  • Deep hemangioma (cavernous)
  • Mixed hemangioma (involving the superficial and deeper layers of the skin).
They are usually medically insignificant, growing initially and then decreasing in size over time. Ulceration and bleeding is uncommon. They can however develop in areas other than the skin such as the liver or lungs (extracutaneous).

What causes ulcerated cavernous hemangiomas?

The exact cause of ulcerated cavernous hemangiomas is not known. A spontaneous genetic abnormality is present in some hemangiomas, and occasionally they may be found in other family members. They do not appear to be inherited from parents or caused by drugs taken pregnancy or other environmental exposures.

What are the signs/symptoms of ulcerated cavernous hemangiomas?

Hemangiomas may be small or large, round or oval, elevated, dome shaped, raspberry-like, or have mixed characteristics. They can grow at different rates.

Many occur on the head and neck (60%), trunk (25%), extremities (15%) but they can be found anywhere on the body.

Superficial hemangioma are usually bright red to purple. Cavernous (deep) hemangioma which grow under the skin are frequently blue or purple and may bulge. Mixed hemangiomas may have a mixed picture looking like both other types.

Ulcerated cavernous hemangiomas can also cause infection, scarring, discomfort and other symptoms due to the bleeding that occurs along with them.

What are ulcerated cavernous hemangioma care options?

The majority of infantile hemangiomas require no treatment. Medications, laser surgery and/or surgical removal are all treatment options.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: July 22, 2021 03:29 PM

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