Treating Infantile Hemangiomas: Propranolol’s Benefits Over Corticosteroids

An infantile hemangioma is also known as a “strawberry mark” which is a very common type of birthmark composed of blood vessels. Hemangiomas may not be visible at birth, but all skin hemangiomas are seen within the first six month of age. It may appear as a small bruise, scratch or tiny red bump at first, however it may develop anywhere on the skin but are most commonly found on the scalp, face and neck. Hemangiomas are oval in shape and appear on the surface of the skin are typically range from bright red to purple in color, while deeper ones may be blue, purple, or even normal skin color. They are considered common vascular tumors and characteristically growth rapidly during the first three to twelve months of age, followed by slow but spontaneous decrease from three to seven years of age.

The gold standard for treating infantile hemangiomas has been corticosteroids in various forms, including topical, injection, or oral formulations.  Recently, propranolol therapy was tested to be more clinically effective as well as cost-effective than the use of oral corticosteroids. This changes the precedent for treating infantile hemangiomas. Now, propreanolol should be considered the first route to treating infantile hemangiomas. Using propranolol therapy to treat infantile hemangiomas also resulted in fewer surgical interventions and patients demonstrated better tolerance with minimal adverse effects.

The ultimate cause of Infantile hemangiomas is unknown, but there are several factors common factors in baby’s with these particular birthmarks. They are more often seen in Caucasian children and in babies that are born very small or prematurely. Larger lesions take longer to shrink disappear from the baby’s skin and may have a greater chance of scarring.

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar is a New York City dermatologist and fellowship-trained cosmetic surgeon who has a significant amount of training in the decreasing and ablating of scars.  Scarring can be significantly minimalized using Dr. Rokhsar’s wide range of laser treatments to choose from, along with his extensive knowledge and experience as one of the leading authorities in Fraxel repair, the best scar repair device available today.

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