Hemangiomas, The Institute for Limb Preservation

Hemangiomas are benign tumors that consist of numerous small blood vessels. These are common in young children, but can be discovered at any age.

These tumors may be subcutaneous (just below the skin), cutaneous (in the skin), or found within muscle or bone. Patients typically notice a mass that fluctuates in size depending on their activity level. This is a result of increased blood flow during exercise. We often see a blue tint to the skin overlying hemangiomas, as the venous blood causes discoloration. They can sometimes be tender to the touch. An MRI is useful in making the diagnosis.

Treatment ranges from symptomatic treatment (sleeves or stockings) to surgical removal. The aggressiveness of the treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms and the location of the tumor. These tumors can also be treated through a process called "embolization". Embolization is a procedure in which a radiologist threads a small catheter into the blood vessels feeding the hemangioma and blocks off the flow of blood to the tumor. This is often an effective and lesser invasive means of dealing with these tumors.

Photos of a patient with a hand hemangioma: