Most hemangiomas won't require treatment, but there are several options available in case of any complications. From lasers to medication to plastic surgery, the treatments can do everything from reduce the size and appearance of a hemangioma to get rid of it completely.
Physicians' opinions vary on whether hemangiomas should be treated medically. Because the growths tend to go away on their own, many doctors prefer to do nothing unless there is a medical risk factor. Other doctors, however, recommend treating the growth as early as possible so the hemangioma doesn't get bigger and there is plenty of time for recovery [source: American Osteopathic College of Dermatology].
Laser treatments are one option for superficial hemangiomas. Laser treatments can reduce the lesion's red appearance, stop its growth, and possibly remove it completely [source: Mayo Clinic]. Some doctors prefer not to use laser treatments on hemangiomas, especially those that are still growing, because it can cause scarring and other negative side effects. However, in these cases, lasers may be used to treat marks left behind after the hemangiomas have disappeared on their own [sources: Cincinnati Children's, Children's Hospital Boston].
For cavernous or compound hemangiomas, medication such as corticosteroids may be injected or taken orally or topically. These drugs do well when the hemangioma is still growing, and in some cases have been known to show a difference in just a few weeks [sources: Mayo Clinic, Cincinnati Children's]. If the corticosteroids aren't working, newer treatments such as beta blockers or interferon alfa, a type of protein, might be considered [source: Mayo Clinic, American Osteopathic College of Dermatology]. Risks for steroids include irritability and swelling, and the risks for interferon may include fever, agitation and serious neurological problems.
If a hemangioma is potentially dangerous and isn't responding to laser treatment or medication, then surgery may be an option. Most doctors generally use it only as a last resort [source: American Osteopathic College of Dermatology]. Risks for surgery include bleeding, infection and scarring.
Because medical opinion varies and there is no one set course of action on how to best treat hemangiomas, the decision should be made on an individual basis.
Keep reading to learn even more information on hemangiomas.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
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