Infantile hemangiomas, complications and treatments

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Infantile hemangiomas (IHs) are the most common vascular tumors of infancy. While the majority regress without the need for intervention, approximately 10%, often site dependent, can cause serious complications and require treatment. IH complications can be categorized as life threatening, obstructive, ulcerative or disfiguring. Life-threatening complications include airway and hepatic IHs. Functional complications obstructing vital structures or impairing function include periocular, nasal, labial, parotid, auricular, and breast IHs. Local complications arise from ulceration or those in cosmetically sensitive areas. Therapeutic options for complicated IHs include pharmacologic (topical or systemic), surgical, or laser interventions. Topical agents are best employed for small, superficial, and localized IHs; while systemic therapy is reserved for larger IHs and those with more aggressive growth characteristics with propranolol as first-line therapy.

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