Many children are born with birthmarks. Most birthmarks, especially those that are brown, are not harmful; others go away on their own. However, vascular birthmarks, such as vascular malformations, hemangiomas, port wine stains and venous malformations, may require surgery to reduce the risk of complications and help your child feel confident in their appearance.

Vascular birthmarks are red, blue or purple in appearance and may be raised from the skin. They are made up of blood vessels that did not grow correctly during development. They may be present at birth or appear after birth. 

Some vascular birthmarks, such as macular stains (sometimes called salmon patches) and hemangiomas (strawberry marks) fade away as the child grows. However, vascular malformations and port wine stains do not go away on their own and may become more apparent over time. If birthmarks are located near the eyes, nose or throat, they may lead to complications with breathing, swallowing or seeing. 

At CHKD, specially trained pediatric surgeons from different specialties work together to remove vascular birthmarks and malformations. Plastic surgeons, ear, nose and throat surgeons, ophthalmologists and dermatologists create individualized treatment plans for each child based on the location, size and type of birthmark they have. Laser therapy, plastic surgery, embolization, sclerotherapy or steroid medicines may help improve the appearance of your child’s birthmark.

Learn more about the CHKD Center for Hemangiomas and Vascular Birthmarks online or by calling (757) 668-7793.