Last reviewed by Editorial Team on August 13th, 2018.
What is Strawberry Hemangioma?
Strawberry hemangioma is a type of birthmark that occurs during the infantile period. It is a superficial hemangioma composed of a cluster of tiny blood vessels and grows in a particular area of the body. Strawberry hemangioma is also referred to as hemangioma, strawberry mark, hemangioma simplex and nevus vascularis.
Strawberry hemangioma typically occurs during infancy and may at times be present at birth but more often develops during the first week of life. The incidence can affect both male and female although with a slight prevalence in female. It is composed of tiny pockets of blood vessels and commonly appears in the head, face, chest and back. It can also develop in the extremities and is usually solitary. Strawberry hemangioma is basically a harmless birthmark that fades away by the time the child reaches the age of 9 to 10 years. The incidence of strawberry hemangioma among newborn babies with birthweight of less than 1 kg accounts for about 22 to 30% while the incidence is increased in babies born from multiple gestations. There is also a recognized increased incidence in babies born from older maternal age and those mothers who previously experienced placenta previa and preeclampsia.
Strawberry hemangioma in general, is harmless and usually does not cause for cosmetic concern as the hemangioma usually fades away before the child reaches puberty. There are cases however, that a strawberry hemangioma may interrupt the important structures of the body which can obstruct in the normal function. Strawberry hemangioma may develop in the ears, nose, eyes and mouth which can interfere with the ability to hear, see, smell, breathe and eat, especially if the hemangioma has grown large enough to block the vital structures. Strawberry hemangioma has no known cause for morbidity and mortality except when the hemangioma has grown bigger and obstructed a particular vital structure although this seldom happens.
Strawberry Hemangioma Symptoms
Strawberry hemangioma is generally harmless except for cases when it has grown large enough to interfere with the vital structures of the body. It usually develops in the head, scalp, face and neck but may also develop in other areas of the body such as in the chest, trunk and back including extremities.
The onset of strawberry hemangioma is evolving while in the process of growing its size to the fullest until it becomes inactive or ceases to grow. It usually develops during the first week to fourth week of life and characterized with a rapid proliferation. The rapid growth is the main feature of strawberry hemangioma that differentiates it from vascular malformations relative to the growth of the infant.
Strawberry hemangioma as its name implies, appears similar to a strawberry fruit. It is a soft and raised bump composed of a bunch of tiny blood vessels and with strawberry red color hence, its name. The strawberry red color of the hemangioma is due to the accumulation of tiny blood vessels adjacent to the surface of the skin.
Strawberry hemangioma initially develops as skin blanching followed by development of skin patches that have bluish or reddish color. The skin patches are rather flat and may remain so until it proliferates and becomes elevated. The shape of the hemangioma may be dome-like, lobulated or may be similar to a tumor. The stage of proliferation ensues during the first year of life with most of the growing process occurring during the 4th to 6th month of life.
Strawberry hemangioma is a birthmark but does not necessarily means it appears at birth. It may develop later after birth or a week after birth or even a month after birth. It can develop as small as a pinhead and can grow bigger as much as 20 cm in diameter although the maximum size is about 0.5cm to 5cm in diameter.
The involution stage of strawberry hemangioma may occur early or several months after birth and which usually lingers until the child have turned 1 to 2 years old. During this phase, the size of the hemangioma begins to diminish at about half from its original size. The involution of the hemangioma starts at the core of the lesion. The color of the lesion will later become lighter or may take on a maroon to purplish color until it returns back to its normal color which is of skin tone.
Strawberry hemangioma is the result of extra blood vessels that cluster together near the surface of the skin. The incidence is common among infants and usually develops at birth or right after birth. The clustering together of the tiny blood vessels near the skin surface remains unknown that the exact etiology of strawberry hemangioma remains vague. There have been speculations linking hereditary components to the onset of strawberry hemangioma although it still remains to be confirmed.
Strawberry hemangioma is a harmless condition which is common among infants. The exact cause of the incident remains unclear that specific treatment for the strawberry hemangioma remains unclear as well. It is however, a birthmark that usually involutes on its own without the aid of any treatment. The hemangioma usually shrinks in size by the time the child reaches the age of one year to two years and is completely dissolved before the child reaches puberty or by age 10 years old.