According to the journal Pediatrics and the Jerusalem Post, the Mayo Clinics recently published study suggests that babies with complication- causing hemaniomas should be immediately referred to dermatologists for further evaluation.
Infantile hemangiomas are the most common tumor in infancy, tend to appear in the first weeks of life and grow as a child ages.
Potential complications include permanent disfigurement of the face or functional compromise of vital organs.
“Our goal was to try to figure out when this actual period of rapid growth happened,” said Dr. Megha Tollefson, a pediatric dermatologist at the Mayo Clinic who conducted the study with Dr. Ilona Frieden at the California university. “Then we could potentially intervene if we had to.”
The researchers examined photos of 30 infants from birth to three months, analyzing the color, thickness and distortion of anatomic landmarks. Previously, physicians believed that the tumors grew during the first five months of life, but researchers had not yet discovered when the most rapid growth took place.
“By using a novel study design, we were able to demonstrate that the period of most rapid hemangioma growth of superficial hemangiomas occurs between 5.5 and 7.5 weeks of age,” Frieden said.
The new findings suggest that infants with high-risk infantile hemangiomas should be seen by a dermatologist as soon as possible, preferably by four weeks old. This way, therapy such as drug treatment and laser removal can start as soon as possible.
“Depending on where the hemangioma is located, it could potentially
have long-term impact,” Dr Tollefson says. We now have the possibility of preventing a lot of that,” he concluded.