The first thing you should realize is that there are options for treatment.
There is no reason in this day and age to accept that the only option available is to leave it alone and wait for the hemangioma to away. Secondly, the most appropriate treatment plan needs to be individualized for each patient and each lesion. Therefore, similar lesions in different patients may be treated differently. Likewise, a given child may have more than one hemangioma and each of those may be treated differently.
There are various factors that come into play when deciding what treatment is best, whether the hemangioma is proliferating or involuting; whether it is superficial, deep or compound; the location of the lesion and the age of the child. In general, there are four potential treatment options which may be used singly or in combination.
By their structure, vascular malformations are different than hemangiomas, and require specialized care in selecting treatment.
This can be a tough process, and we understand that. From assisting you with initial research, to making sure you have a complete understanding of treatment options, we are here for you. Learn about a typical treatment process.
Embolization and sclerotherapy are procedures done by an Interventional Radiologist and are useful to close down the blood supply of a malformation (venous or arterio-venous malformations, for example) prior to surgery or as the primary treatment option.
Special medicines can be used as well as different coils, sponges and other materials. The purpose of these treatments may also be to scar down the malformation (such as with lymphatic malformations). The interventional radiologist is also very helpful in doing studies prior to surgery to help map out the malformation.
The most common malformation for which lasers are used is the port wine stain. For these, the pulsed dye laser (PDL) with a dynamic cooling device is the currently the best treatment. Early treatment of port wine stains is advocated to try to close off the abnormal vessels. Even after this malformation clears, touch up treatments may be needed in the future.
Remember, any vessel that is left behind has the potential for growing. There is no current way to completely get rid of a port wine stain permanently. However, it is definitely worth treating in order to avoid complications such as ‚Äòpeppercorns‚Äô or ‚Äòcobblestones‚Äô. Once these areas of thickening occur they are more difficult to treat.
The Nd:YAG and resurfacing lasers are useful in these instances as well. Likewise, we try to prevent the overgrowth of tissues by using the laser early on. Surgery is useful for port wine stains to reduce the size of structures that have thickened such as the lips, eyelids and nose.
Steroids are typically used only occasionally in the treatment of malformations to reduce swelling during flare-ups. For example, lymphatic malformations can enlarge during a viral illness or venous malformations may get ‚Äòclogged‚Äô with calcifications causing pain and swelling ‚Äì steroids may be used as a temporary measure to treat these problems. However, unlike with hemangiomas, the steroids are not treating the malformation itself.
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