Are Hemangiomas Painful for Babies?

Hemangiomas might look unsightly, but the large majority of them are completely harmless. Usually, you can touch them without making a baby cry, which should be a pretty good sign. Even though the growth itself might not be painful, some hemangiomas can cause complications, depending on where they develop. In extremely rare cases, they might even be life-threatening.

More than 80 percent of hemangiomas develop on the head and neck; the rest can pop up anywhere, including internally [source: Hochman]. If they grow in the wrong area, they can affect everything from your baby's sight to his breathing. For example, a hemangioma that develops on the eyelid can cause vision problems, and one that grows in or near the throat or mouth can cause difficulties with breathing, eating or speaking. Similarly, a hemangioma that develops on or near the ear might cause hearing problems.

In very rare cases, the lesion may develop inside the body and seriously affect an internal organ, such as the liver, intestines or brain [source: Vascular Birthmarks Foundation]. Hemangiomas have also been known to cause internal bleeding and heart problems. Again, such cases are very rare and occur in only about 1 percent of babies with hemangiomas [source: Children's Hospital Boston].

Ulcers are a common complication associated with hemangiomas. They tend to occur most often around the mouth and in the genital area and can usually be treated with topical medications [source: Children's Hospital Boston]. They don't usually bleed, but in the rare case that they do, simply applying pressure should keep it under control.

Even though most hemangiomas don't require treatment, medical attention may be required if one is causing complications or affecting a child's everyday life. What options are available for treatment?