New Options for Childhood Birthmarks

CHARLESTON, S.C. "A child's love is just so innocent," Virginia Tate, Ainsley's mother, tells Ivanhoe.

But just after she was born, elation turned to worry. Virginia noticed a small red mark on her daughter's face. A couple months later, it had grown into a large bump.

"Of course, I started thinking like a tumor or something," Virginia said.

It was a tumor, a hemangioma or vascular birthmark. It wasn't cancerous, but Virginia was worried it could still affect her daughter's life.

"Whenever we would walk through the stores, little kids would go, 'Mommy, what's wrong with her?'" Virginia explains.

Most hemangiomas grow for up to a year. All will regress, which is why many doctors say if you leave them alone, they'll go away. But regression can be slow, and for most patients, the tumor doesn't completely disappear.

"So, you ended up and still end up with children waiting years with these large, bulky lesions," Marcelo Hochman, M.D., a facial plastic surgeon at Hemangioma International Treatment Center/Roper St. Francis Healthcare in Charleston, South Carolina explains.

While some doctors hesitate to operate on hemangiomas, Dr. Hochman is taking a more aggressive approach.

"We just remove them," Dr. Hochman said.

After putting her under anesthesia, he surgically removed Ainsley's birthmark. Dr. Hochman also removes hemangiomas using lasers.

"What you'll see is a bright light and then sort of a puff of cold air or sort of a cloud," Dr. Hochman explains.

Results can be life changing like with little Emma, found in an orphanage in china and deemed unadoptable.

"The greatest thing of all this is that she actually was adopted," Dr. Hochman said.

Ainsley hasn't skipped a beat. Changing care and giving hope. Some doctors believe hemangiomas are caused when cells from the placenta get lodged into the baby and grow. The vascular birthmarks are 3-5 times more common in females, especially those with fair skin. They occur less frequently in African American babies.

Roper St. Francis Healthcare Physician Referral
Charleston, SC
(800) 863-CARE (2273)

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