Proactive approach used to remove birthmarks

Proactive approach used to remove birthmarks

Proactive approach used to remove birthmarks

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by JEAN ENERSEN / KING 5 News

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KING5.com

Posted on January 23, 2010 at 12:45 PM

Little Ainsley Tate is the light of her mother's life.

But Virginia noticed a small red mark on her newborn daughter's face. In two months it had grown into a large bump.

"Of course I first started thinking it was like a tumor or something," she 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?'" she said.

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," said Dr. Marcelo Hochman.

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

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

After putting her under anesthesia, he surgically removed Ainsley's birthmark. He can also remove some using lasers.

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

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

What causes hemangiomas? Some doctors believe they happen when cells from the placenta get lodged inside the baby and grow. Some kind of birthmark occurs in roughly 10 percent of births.  That adds up to around 400,000 babies each year in the United States.

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