When a hemangioma is interfering with movement or the growth has caused an abnormality in appearance, treatment may be required. While some hemangiomas may require surgery or laser therapy, there are vascular formations that respond to medical therapy. Certain medications can help shrink vascular birthmarks, tumors and hemangiomas, even for infants that are only a few weeks old. Here are some of the medical therapy options used by vascular birthmark and hemangioma specialists.
One of the most widely used medications for treating hemangiomas is propranolol, a medication that has been used for cardiac patients. The medication can be used to slow or reverse growth in some hemangiomas – segmental hemangiomas or flat varieties have responded well to this medication. There is a topical medication that can be used – another type is an oral solution called hemangeol or propranolol hydrochloride, which can be used for children as young as five weeks old.
Large hemangiomas can be slowed in growth or shrunk with the use of steroid injections. Compound hemangiomas are best suited to this type of treatment and may respond favorably. Oral steroids are rarely used – propranolol is preferred for oral hemangioma medications.
For multiple or severe hemangioma growth, one option for treatment is vincristine, a chemotherapeutic agent. This treatment is reserved for cases where other treatments have not been effective. The medication is delivered intravenously and can be effective for treating large or multiple hemangiomas, as well as hemangioendotheliomas.
Finding the right treatment for aggressive hemangiomas requires a vascular birthmark specialist. To explore the different options available, including medical therapies, laser therapy and surgery, contact a vascular birthmark clinic.