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Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Vascular Tumours

There are several different types of vascular tumours.  Hemangiomas are one type of vascular tumour.  Most patients with hemangiomas are cared for by the Dermatology Clinic.  Children with other vascular tumours are cared for by the Vascular Tumour Service at the Dermatology Clinic.  Children with hemangiomas and other vascular tumours requiring surgical or invasive radiological treatment are seen at the Vascular Anomalies Clinic.   

The following section refers briefly to hemangiomas.  


Hemangiomas are the most common of the vascular tumours and the most common tumour of infancy.  The word 'tumour' refers to an abnormal growth of cells which looks like a swelling. There are two types of hemangiomas: the common infantile hemangioma (which appear soon after birth, grow very rapidly over months and then slowly shrink over several years) and the rarer congenital hemangioma (which is present at birth).  There are two types of congenital hemangioma which are classified according to whether or not the hemangioma involutes (shrinks and gets smaller) after birth.  The two types are 1) the rapidly involuting congenital hemangioma (otherwise known as RICH) and 2) the non-involuting congenital hemangioma (otherwise known as NICH).     

Most infantile hemangiomas occur in the skin and are red in colour.  Some infantile hemangiomas may be under the skin, with no red colour in the skin.  Most hemangiomas occur as single hemangiomas, although some children may have multiple hemangiomas.  Very rarely, hemangiomas can occur in the liver.  The Dermatology Clinic will provide you with more information.  

Here are pictures of the normal changes expected with a typical infantile hemangioma: 

patient aged 3 weeks

patient aged 15 months

patient aged 4 years 

patient aged 9 years



The diagnosis is made based on the patient history and physical examination.  Sometimes further investigations are required, such as MRI or ultrasound scan, to fully assess the condition.  


If treatment is required, the Dermatology Clinic will discuss all treatment options with you.