holden’s hemangioma



What a deep hemangioma looks like on a 3-month-old @ohbotherblog

This is a long story, but I’ll try to break it up with pictures of a cute bb.

My baby girl used to have a lopsided face.

Just before Holden’s 3-month birthday, I got a text with the above pic from my mom while I was at work. She and my dad were concerned about Holdy’s right cheek, which appeared to be swollen. After seeing the photo, I obviously was concerned fuh-reaked out as well.

You see, I had noticed a little dime-sized bruise on Holden’s right cheek the week before the text. I honest-to-god thought it was from my mother-in-law pinching her cheek, as she was wont to do. The day before I got the text, I felt Holden’s cheek around the bruise and it felt a little hard, almost like a swollen insect bite. But I kind of shrugged it off, and was now feeling like the worst mom in the world™ for doing so.

How could I not have noticed that Holden looked like she had her wisdom teeth removed on just one side? I’m thinking it’s because I never really was able to look at her from a distance to really witness the disparity; I was usually looking down at her while she nursed or while I was holding her. I mean, I noticed that her cheeks were looking chubbier in photos. But I never picked up on the fact that one was significantly chubbier than the other.

So, I called the pediatrician immediately and got an appointment for that same day. My pediatrician (who I will not name and who I no longer see) looked her over briefly and said, “It’s a hemangioma. We’ll get you a consult with a pediatric surgeon,” and left the room, never to return. We were like:

baby eye roll @ohbotherblog

In the time between his departure and a nurse eventually coming back in, I googled “hemangioma face.” (Pro-tip: never, ever google “hemangioma face.” Like ever.)

I was somewhat familiar with hemangiomas because Holden has a superficial hemangioma, or a “strawberry,” on her back. But this was a whole new ballpark.

Cutting to the chase: I said screw it to my pediatrician and their pediatric surgeon consult and after many phone calls, found myself at the Dermatology Clinic at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, where everyone is wonderful and helpful and doesn’t drop bombs on you and then exit the premises.

So here’s the deal: I learned that hemangiomas are benign tumors, which sound pretty scary. They’re made of tangled masses of blood vessels. Superficial hemangiomas appear redder, like strawberries, because they’re in a top layer of skin. Deep hemangiomas appear more bluish or purple, like a bruise, because they’re in a deeper layer of skin. Holden’s cheek hemangioma is a deep hemangioma.

Deep hemangioma on the cheek @ohbotherblog

As was explained to me, deep hemangiomas usually appear a few weeks to months after a baby is born. They go through a rapid growth phase for about six months to a year, and then begin to regress at a much slower rate. The hemangioma should mostly be gone by the time a baby is two or three.

At the advice of our doctor, Dr. Andrea Zaenglein, M.D., Associate Professor of Dermatology and Pediatrics, who is a pediatric dermatology specialist, we decided to pursue a relatively new treatment and start Holden on a course of medicine called Propanolol. A hypertension drug and beta-blocker used to treat infants with heart problems, Propanolol has been shown in recent studies to also attack the blood vessels that make up the hemangioma.

Before we started her on the medication, Holden had to undergo a series of tests at Penn State Hershey’s Children’s Heart Group to make sure her heart was okay to take the meds. Once we were clear, we started the Propanolol.

No lie, within two days of starting the medication, we began to notice a difference. The hardness of the hemangioma was breaking up and the puffiness started to subside. Within a month or two, her cheeks were just about even. If you didn’t know about Holden’s hemangioma, you would have never really noticed. Holden was like:

Hemangioma after a few months of treatment @ohbotherblog

Around nine months, we started to wean Holden off the Propanolol.

And the best news? Today, we had our last appointment at Penn State Hershey and we’re officially stopping the medication. Woot! We just have to keep an eye out for any regrowth, but we’re hopeful that we’re over the hump (pun intended).

Hemangioma treatment complete - no more Propanolol @ohbotherblog

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  • Tara Hood

    I know exactly what you went through! My daughter had 5 visable and 2 under the skin! (thank goodness none were on her face) We noticed two lumps, one on top of her head and one behind her ear! So we went to a doctor right away and they told us it was a tumor but we can’t get you in for a brain MRI for six weeks! Talk about the longest six weeks EVER! Turns out they were harmless and they told us they would go away by the time she was one and if not we could get them removed! She still has one on her back that is barely noticeable but all the others have disappeared! That was 10 years ago so I’m sure meds have improved and I’m glad things are better for your precious little girl!

  • oh, bother.: holden’s hemangioma update

    […] may recall from my first post on her hemangioma that hemangiomas like Holden’s usually appear a few weeks to months after a baby is born. […]

  • Tara Pocock

    I found your post while searching for photos that look similar to the malformation on my son’s face. This looks exactly the same and he also has the blocked tear duct. He is 8 months old now and we have just started going through the “rule out” phase. He has had an CT scan and the pediatrician is recommending an MRI, and possible biopsy and blood work. I started looking at Hemangioma images and I agree that was a bad idea. Were there any good sites that you found that were reliable and might be helpful in saving me unnecessary worry. I would like to balance taking care of my child’s health without needing to do gratuitous testing, surgeries, sedation, medication, etc. ANy advice would be appreciated.

    • ohbothermeg

      Hi Tara. I feel you on this; it’s scary when something is going on with your kid and there’s almost too much information out there. Pointing out, of course, that I’m not a medical professional in any way, I can give you some insight on our situation.

      I think I explained in one of the posts that my then-pediatrician (I now have a new one) was not helpful to me and actually scared me more. He was, however, able to diagnose Holden’s malformation as a hemangioma right away, without a CT or MRI. I went right to a pediatric dermatology specialist. If you’re thinking it could be a hemangioma, it might make sense to start with a dermatologist to find out for sure. I’m in Pennsylvania so I went to Penn State Hershey.

      Johns Hopkins’ info on hemangiomas was pretty clear and non-frightening: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/otolaryngology/specialty_areas/pediatric_otolaryngology/conditions/hemangiomas_vascular_malformations.html. This article in particular about the newer treatment with propanolol was helpful to me: https://www.hopkinschildrens.org/a-standard-of-care-for-hemangiomas.aspx, especially when we went to the dermatologist and propanolol was the course of treatment she recommended, so I felt comfortable that she knew what she was doing. We didn’t have to do any CTs, MRIs or biopsies. We did have to undergo some testing of Holden’s heart before she could start on the propanolol because it’s actually a heart medication.

      Re: the blocked tear ducts. I was never told that the hemangioma and the blocked duct were connected in any way. From what I’ve learned, blocked tear ducts are relatively common in babies; Gatsby (my second child) actually seemed to have a blocked duct, but I think it’s already clearing up now at 9 weeks. We waited until Holden was 14 months old to see if it cleared on its own and when it didn’t, I was referred to an eye doctor who specialized in the surgery to repair overflow tearing. So that would be a conversation with your pediatrician to see if you need to wait it out a bit…

      I hope that’s helpful! If you want to send me an email to talk more, I’m at ohbotherblog at gmail. Happy to talk you through it and hopefully ease your mind.

  • massage treatments gold coast

    I pay a quick visit every day a few blogs and information sites to read posts, however this website presents quality based articles.

  • diet plans

    At this moment I am going to do my breakfast, when having my breakfast
    coming again to read further news.

  • burn Nintendo Wii games

    In playing blackjack you must keep in mind the easy rules from the game to be able to get hold from the right technique to use.
    Domestic Bliss: If game meat is a bit exotic in your case that’s okay too, the very best various traditional steak are veal, pork or lean beef, make sure you’re looking at a lean cut, these are still good in your case, and incredibly tasty.
    It takes time for you to build-up camaraderie like this, but you can speed the procedure
    up a bit by making sure that people have entry to plenty of team development activities.

Leave a Comment:

Theme by Blogmilk   Coded by Brandi Bernoskie