What is a Hemangioma? Hemangioma is a benign tumor formed by the unusual growth and accumulation of blood vessels. The cause of hemangioma is unknown. Hemangioma usually appears on the skin, especially on the head, face and neck. It may form in the top skin layers (capillary) or deeper in your skin (cavernous). It may show up on the internal organs like liver organ also, vertebrae and spine. The word hemangioma comes from Greek words meaning “blood-vessel-tumor”.
These lesions are the most common benign tumors in children. These lesions may be present at delivery as delivery marks having faint reddened areas or develop after delivery in the early months. These tumors develop quickly for approximately a year Usually. Then there is a resting phase with little change in appearance for another twelve months. Then the involution phase begins and causes the lesions to decrease in size and disappear in a decade. In rare cases it could persist beyond a decade.
Earlier the word hemangioma was used to denote a variety of vascular lesions of infancy and child years. Mulliken JB. and Glowacki J. categorized these conditions into hemangiomas and vascular malformations. Hemangiomas have a proliferating phase seen as a endothelial hyperplasia which causes rapid growth of tumor. Then there is an involution phase with histological fibrosis and fats deposition accompanied by a regression stage. Under the microscope, these lesions appear as aggregates of packed capillaries filled with blood having endothelial lining closely. Vascular malformations are seen at birth plus they develop proportionately with the child-growth usually.
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Vascular malformations contain abnormal arteries, veins and capillaries and are long term essentially. This categorization helps in deciding on the kind of treatment required, if any. The precise reason behind this benign tumor is unfamiliar. Several views and hypotheses have been suggested as it can be causes of these lesions. Several studies suggested a role for the estrogen hormone for his or her development.
A study recommended that higher degrees of estrogen circulating in the infant blood in conjunction with the localized tissues hypoxia may be considered a cause or a triggering factor for these lesions. Another study hypothesized that embolisms of maternal placenta on to dermis of fetus might be the cause of hemangioma. However this view was contradicted by the DNA studies of the lesion and mom tissues.
More research is required to know the reason for the explosive rate of growth of the tumors. Hemangioma is more frequent in Caucasian newborns than in Asian infants. It is seldom found in African-American babies. About 5% of Caucasian infants are born with these lesions. The reason for this ethnic variant is unidentified.
The low amount of melanocytes within fairer epidermis may be a cause for the development of the tumors. Premature infants and small infants are more susceptible to have or develop these tumors. Further, in comparison with males more quantity of female infants are affected. These tumors have prospect of complications and long lasting scarring.