Treatments for Vascular Malformations, Tumors, and Hemangiomas in Children

Most hemangiomas are small and non-problematic and won't require treatment.  However, the tumor should be monitored, especially if its obstructing vital structures such as eyes or throat, or if it ulcerates (bleeds). Also, if a child has multiple hemangiomas, they are at greater risk for internal lesions and patients should be referred to a specialist. 

Your child's physician may decide to treat a problematic hemangioma with the following:

   •   corticosteroid or other drugs
   •   surgical removal
   •   embolization of the blood vessels (injection of material into the blood vessels to block the blood inflow)

In the case of large and/or life-threatening lesions, your child should be evaluated by an interdisciplinary team of specialists that includes plastic surgeons, dermatologists, ophthalmologists, radiologists, and other specialists, depending on what organs are involved.

Because children may have a residual deformity following involution of the hemangioma, many are referred to a plastic surgeon to discuss reconstructive options.

Treatment for vascular malformations at Boston Children's Hospital

Treatment for vascular malformations depends upon the type, but may include the following:

   •   For port wine stains, laser therapy is usually recommended
   •   Arterial malformations are often treated by embolization (blood flow into malformation is blocked by injecting
       material near the lesion)
   •   Venous malformations are usually treated by direct injection of a sclerosing (clotting) medication, which causes
       clotting of the channels

Most often, a combination of these various treatments is used for effective management of the vascular anomaly.