When you make an appointment at Children’s Hospital Boston, we start with a complete medical history and a thorough physical exam. Your doctor may be able to diagnose your baby’s hemangioma simply by looking at it.
If it’s unclear, your child will have one or more of the following imaging tests:
- ultrasound (also called ultrasonography) — An ultrasound also shows the size of the hemangioma and allows your doctor to see how much blood is flowing through it.
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — This high-resolution scan shows how large your child’s hemangioma is, as well as its relationship to nearby muscles, nerves, bones and other blood vessels.
If these tests prove inconclusive — or if there is any suspicion of cancer — your doctor will perform a biopsy. A biopsy is a surgical procedure where a doctor removes a small tissue sample.
Examining the tumor's cellular appearance under a microscope allows the physician to determine definitively whether your child has a hemangioma or another type of lesion.
If your child has had a biopsy done elsewhere, we can use it instead of performing another biopsy.
It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis because some vascular anomalies look like hemangiomas but may be vascular malformations or other types of vascular tumors.
Questions about your visit? Read about directions, contact information and other important information.