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Management of difficult infantile haemangiomas
  1. Sheilagh M Maguiness1,
  2. Ilona J Frieden2
  1. 1Department of Dermatology, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2Department of Dermatology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Sheilagh M Maguiness, Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Children's Hospital Boston, 300 Longwood Ave, Fegan 6, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA; sheilagh.maguiness{at}


Infantile haemangiomas are common vascular tumours of infancy. They typically present shortly after birth, undergo a period of rapid proliferation, and then slowly involute over many years. Although most patients require no intervention, appropriate investigation and treatment may be necessary in a minority of cases. Identifying which patients require further investigation or intervention can be difficult due to the heterogeneity of clinical presentation. This is compounded by a lack of rigorous randomised controlled trials on haemangioma management. Therefore, the rationale for treatment is not always straightforward. Haemangiomas occur anywhere on the body, have superficial, deep or mixed morphology, and depending on anatomic location, size and subtype, can be associated with underlying structural anomalies and many other potential complications. Generally, the management of difficult haemangiomas is best approached on a case-by-case basis. Over the last few years, there have been several advances in our understanding of haemangiomas, together with some exciting new therapeutic options. In the following review, the authors discuss the various possible complications of infantile haemangiomas, the rationale for treatment and appropriate possible interventions.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.