Hemangioma Excision and Reconstruction
Infantile hemangioma, also called “strawberry hemangioma”, is one of the most common non-cancerous tumors affecting infants. There is nothing that happened during your pregnancy that may have caused hemangioma, nor is there anything you could have done to prevent it. Better understanding of hemangioma and innovative surgical techniques has led to significant advances in their treatment. Should your child need surgical treatment, Dr. David Shamouelian of Allure Aesthetic Surgery of Beverly Hills is a highly-experienced board-certified head and neck surgeon who specializes in excision of hemangioma of the skin and subcutaneous tissue and reconstructive procedures.
What is Hemangioma?
The term hemangioma means blood vessel tumor and is caused by the swelling or growth of endothelial cells, the cells that line blood vessels. It is a bright red birthmark that usually appears around the face, neck or other places on the body within the first weeks of life. Within 4-6 months, the hemangioma may grow rapidly and could reach a peak around 8 months to one year. Involution of hemangioma usually begins within 12-18 months of age. While the hemangioma may slowly disappear, it is sometimes replaced with a fibro-fatty scar which may require scar revision. Hemangiomas may grow in areas such as the liver or around the throat, which are life-threatening, or in other areas that may interfere or obstruct with normal body functions and cause vision or hearing loss. Hemangiomas deep within the body might not be recognizable until the baby is about two or three months old.
Benefits of Hemangioma Procedure
Here are some of the benefits of undergoing hemangioma excision treatment:
- Minimizes the extent of the hemangioma’s growth
- It prevents both short term and long term problems
- Improves appearance
- Minimal scarring after the excision and reconstruction
Risks and Complications
The risks and complications associated with hemangioma excision and reconstruction is similar to most risks associated with any type of surgical procedures. It is important to strictly follow the surgeon’s post-operative care instructions to reduce risk of complications. Some of the risks involved include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Abnormal scarring
- Negative reactions to anesthesia and medications
- Inadequate healing
Surgical excision is one of the most common solutions for hemangioma removal, especially for patients with hemangioma that has already caused serious tissue damage. Surgical excision of hemangioma is recommended if there is a significant functional deficit or aesthetic deformity from a growing hemangioma that is not responsive to medications. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. Subcutaneous lesion is then trimmed, residual vessels may be cauterized, and the skin sutured closed, leaving dermal scarring that is usually longer than the diameter of the hemangioma. Large hemangiomas may require a series of excisions, with a few months gap in between to allow surrounding skin to heal and soften. There are other non-surgical treatment options, such as laser therapies and steroids, available and will be considered depending on the severity of the hemangioma. During hemangioma excision, Dr. Shamouelian always puts an emphasis on minimizing pain, complications and scarring.