Vascular Malformations, Tumors, and Hemangiomas in Children

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Contact the Vascular Anomalies Center

Vascular malformations, tumors and hemangiomas all refer to a variety of non-cancerous birthmarks and lesions. Boston Children's Hospital is home to internationally renowned physicians for their expertise and innovative contributions to this highly specialized field.


   •   Infantile hemangiomas are the most common type of vascular anomaly
   •   They are a benign (noncancerous) tumor
   •   Occur in 4 to 10 percent of infants and more frequently in premature

   •   Growths are typically noticed in the first two weeks of life
   •   They enlarge rapidly, outpacing the rest of the body's growth for the
        first year
   •   After infancy, they slowly regress
   •   Usually fully involutes (shrink) by 5 to 7 years old
   •   Some residual fatty tissue or thin skin may remain after involution

Vascular malformations

   •   Vascular malformations are benign (non-cancerous) lesions
   •   They are present at birth, but may not become visible for weeks or months after birth
   •   Unlike hemangiomas, vascular malformations do not have a growth cycle and then regress but instead continue
       to grow slowly throughout life.

How Boston Children's Hospital approaches vascular anomalies

The Vascular Anomalies Center at Boston Children's Hospital offers the latest diagnostic and treatment approaches, some of which were pioneered by our staff. Our team provides comprehensive consultation services to physicians and families worldwide, including referrals to local medical centers and physicians when appropriate.

The Vascular Anomalies Center (VAC) at Children's is composed of a unique interdisciplinary team of 26 physicians, representing 18 departments, who have developed sub-sub specialization in the field of vascular anomalies. Many of these physicians are internationally renowned for their expertise and innovative contributions to this highly specialized field.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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