Types of birthmarks
You want the best for your child, and we understand. That’s why Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin has a team of specialists who diagnose and treat birthmarks and vascular anomalies, including:
- Complex hemangiomas
- Infantile hemangiomas
An infantile hemangioma, or "strawberry mark," is a very common type of birthmark made of blood vessels. Most hemangiomas are not visible at birth. When they do appear, they may first show up as a small bruise, scratch or tiny red bump.
The vascular anomalies team is researching the causes of and potential cures for infantile hemangiomas. Our work and research have given us several important clues about what causes infantile hemangiomas and important new tools for diagnosing them.
We use what we learn in the laboratory to improve the care of infants with hemangiomas. Learn more about treatment at Children’s Hospital .
- Congenital hemangiomas
A congenital hemangioma is a vascular lesion that is present and fully grown at birth. Doctors may diagnose a congenital hemangioma on a prenatal ultrasound.
- Capillary malformations
Capillaries are small blood vessels that connect the arteries to the veins. A capillary malformation, also called a port wine stain, is a type of birthmark. If your child has a capillary malformation, the capillaries are larger than normal (dilated) in the area of the birthmark.
- Venous malformations
Veins are blood vessels that carry blood back to the heart. A venous malformation occurs when the veins are thinner and more open (dilated) than normal. It causes a blue to deep blue or purple mark under the skin.
- Arteriovenous malformations
Normally, arteries carry blood with oxygen from the heart to the brain and body, while veins carry blood with less oxygen back to the heart. Capillaries are smaller vessels that connect arteries to veins. When an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) occurs, the capillaries are missing, and the arteries connect directly to the veins. This causes the blood to flow very fast through these large vessels, which can lead to serious complications, like severe bleeding and heart failure.
- Lymphatic malformations
If the lymphatic system is not formed normally, the fluid is slow to travel back to the veins, and extra fluid collects in the body. This leads to swollen or enlarged soft tissues and bones that is called a lymphatic malformation.
- Cystic hygromas
- Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome
- Kasabach-Merritt syndrome/phenomenon
The Kasabach-Merritt phenomenon is a complication of a rapidly enlarging vascular lesion. Many children with KMP also have:
- Hemolytic anemia (a condition in which red blood cells are destroyed and removed from the bloodstream before their normal lifespan is over)
- Thrombocytopenia (a condition in which the blood has a lower than normal number of platelets, or blood cell fragments)
- Coagulopathy (a disorder in which blood is either too slow or too quick to clot)
- Tufted angioma
- Kaposiform hemangioendothelioma
- Mixed vascular anomalies
- PHACE syndrome
PHACE syndrome is the association of a large hemangioma, usually on the face or neck, in combination with one or more other problems. Every infant diagnosed with PHACE syndrome has different medical needs. Some have mild symptoms while other have more severe symptoms. PHACE syndrome is uncommon but may have been misdiagnosed in the past. It affects girls nine times more often than boys.
- Multifocal Lymphangioendotheliomatosis with Thrombocytopenia (MLT)
Multifocal lymphangioendotheliomatosis with thrombocytopenia (MLT) is a rare and complex vascular (blood vessel) disorder. People with MLT have multiple skin, stomach and intestinal lesions. Some people have as few as five lesions, but some people have hundreds of them. These lesions can cause lead to abnormal blood vessels.
In addition to the lesions, most infants with MLT also have thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet counts).