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The most rapid formation of infantile hemangioma (IH) occurs before 8 weeks of age, much earlier than previously believed, according to new research published in the journal Pediatrics.
Hemangioma is characterized by an abnormal buildup of blood vessels in the skin or internal organs. Most hemangioma growth is complete by 5 months of age, but before this time, there is a period of extremely rapid growth. Typically, 30% of hemangiomas are present at birth. In the 30 infants included in the study, hemangioma precursors were present at birth in 65% of subjects.
Researchers looked at serial parental photographs of infants with facial hemangiomas. They noted that the most rapid growth occurred between 5.5 and 7.5 weeks of age. Based on this finding, the researchers concluded that the optimal age for referral was 4 weeks of age.
“Our findings suggest a need for a paradigm shift in the timing of referral and initiation of treatment of high-risk IH so that therapy can be initiated before or early in the course of most rapid growth, rather than after it is already completed,” the authors of the study, Megha M. Tollefson, MD, and Ilona J. Frieden, MD, wrote.