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Birthmarks and Vascular Anomalies Center
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Birthmarks and Vascular Anomalies Center
Information About Vascular Anomalies

Vascular lesions can be divided into two groups: vascular tumors and vascular malformations.

Vascular tumors are usually benign (not cancerous) birthmarks or growths that are formed when the cells that line the blood vessels (endothelial cells) start dividing and multiplying at an abnormal rate. Hemangiomas are the most common type of vascular tumor. They are often noticed soon after birth, grow rapidly, then stop growing and start getting smaller (involute).

  • Infantile hemangioma
  • Rapidly involuting congenital hemangioma (RICH)
  • Non-involuting congenital hemangioma (NICH)
  • Multifocal Lymphangioendotheliomatosis (MFLE)
  • Lobular capillary hemangioma (pyogenic granuloma)
  • Tufted angioma
  • Kaposiform hemangioendothelioma
  • Spindle-cell hemangioendothelioma

Vascular malformations are birthmarks or growths that are formed by groups of abnormal blood vessels. They are thought to be present from birth (congenital), but some may not be noticed until later in childhood. Vascular malformations do not have increased cell growth and division. They grow in proportion with the child and do not get smaller or involute on their own. There are several different types of vascular malformations. They are named according to the type of vessel that predominates.

  Infantile Hemangiomas Vascular Malformations
Onset About one-third present at birth, the rest become apparent in the first few weeks of life. Present at birth, although not always apparent.
Growth Grow rapidly in the first year, then shrink during chlidhood and never recur. Grow proportionately with the child (except after trauma and during infections and puberty) and never regress.
Gender Affect more females than males (3:1). Affect males and females equally (1:1).
Color Can be bright red or blue or a mixture of the two. Can have purple, pink, or blue color or no color at all.
Consistency Usually warm and has a dough-like consistency. Feel softer than hemangiomas and may pulse when the heart beats.

Updated: November 30, 2007
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