Vascular Anomaly: What you need to know

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A vascular anomaly is a kind of birthmark that might show up on an infant during birth. It's an abnormal growth called a hemangioma, which is a tumor or an enlarged venus channel like a vein, artery, or a lymphatic channel.

Hemangiomas are the most common type of vascular anomaly, and they're really vascular tumors. They are a strawberry or a beefy red color and occur in about 5 to 10 percent of newborns.

They grow very rapidly during the first six months of life, but after a year they naturally start to get smaller; it's called involutions.

Around 5 years old, about 50 percent have involuted fully, and by age 10 almost 90 to 100 percent have their mark completely gone. However, sometimes those marks can cause complications, making them what's known as a vascular malformation.

The difference between hamangioma and vascular malformations are that hamangiomas typically will go away, whereas vascular malformations will not. As a result, patients can have problems with their airway, vision, and veins.

If they're problematic by causing pain, causing kids to limp, causing blood clots, then those children require treatments with scalara therapy. A sclorson is injected into the venus or lyphatic malformation, irritating the inside of the malformation. The sides of the malformation collapse in on each other and scar down. Medications and surgery can help as well.

Helen DeVos Children's Hospital  now has a vascular anomalies team. The Vascular Anomalies program is located on floor 10 of the hospital at 100 Michigan Street Northeast. For more information on their program and team, call (616) 267-19-25.

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