“When people talk about birthmarks, they usually mean (clustered) blood vessels,” Dr. Jeffrey Popp said.
The scientific name for “strawberry patches,” “stork marks” and others is capillary hemangioma.
There are many ways to treat birthmarks, but “treatment depends on the type of dominate blood vessel in the hemangioma,” Dr. Popp said.
The capillary version is unlike hemangiomas that are dominated by vein-like vessels.
“They work and respond to treatment differently,” he said.
Congenital birthmarks are common and visible at birth. They’re usually a red patch on the back or bottom.
If they’re on a covered part of the child’s body, they usually don’t need treatment. Dr. Popp said they often go away by age 10.
“But if it occurs on an eyelid, around the nose and mouth, or in the airway – anywhere it compromises breathing or vision – it needs to be treated,” he said.
For congenital capillary hemangiomas, Inderol is the current drug of choice for that type of birthmark. Also known as Prepranalol, Inderol is a heart drug, a beta-blocker.
“Someone realized if you put kids on Inderol, their hemangiomas go away. The discovery was made about five years ago,” Dr. Popp said.
“Prior to that we would inject their birthmark with corticosteroids or sometimes laser them out.”
Inderol is taken in pill form. If the drug doesn’t work, similar treatments are still available.
Dr. Popp said he usually doesn’t see patients unless the medicine fails.
“They come to me when they need to talk about steroid injections or surgery.”
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