Vascular Birthmarks

These are lesions first noted at birth, or in 1 week of life and shows as a red, blue, purple blemish.

This is a group of diseases broadly characterised in 2 groups. Vascular malformations and haemangiomas (vascular tumours).  Haemangiomas of infancy are benign vascular tumours and mainly occur in caucasions. The haemangiomas are the most common type of benign tumours of infancy and present in 1.0%, & 2.6% newborns and up to 10-12% at 1 years of age.

‘Strawberry’ haemangiomas become larger from 6 to 12 months, this can happen quickly. When growth stops, the haemangioma shrinks and disappears. 90% disappear by the time children are 9 years old.

Cause
Vascular malformations which are found usually in the head, neck area, and mainly on the face. Vascular malformations are caused by blood vessels which haven’t correctly developed. They are present at birth/or shortly after birth.

There are different types:- salmon patch (nevus simplex) usually fade within first year of birth. Port wine stain (nevus flanneus) usually growing proportion to body and persistent into adulthood. These may darken, thicken, or develop tiny bumps and are present at birth and rarely disappear later in life.

Symptoms
It is painless and only discoloration is the problem . Strawberry haemangiomas depending on their location may interfere with vital organs and cause pain e.g. lesions on the neck press down on the trachea and can effect breathing. Haemangiomas near the eye or ear limit vision, or effect hearing.

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The prevalence of skin disease exceeds that of obesity, hypertension, or cancer. Despite skin being the largest organ of the human body, dermatological research remains one of the most under funded areas of medicine. In a world where society has an increasing preoccupation with image and it’s importance to every aspect of a person’s life, sufferers of skin diseases are feeling and being more marginalised and isolated than ever.

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