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birthmark / strawberry naevus

(21 Posts)
jennyapples Wed 18-Sep-13 11:41:27

Hi there, my little boy (2 months old) has a strawberry naevus on his temple. I really don't want to give it a chance to grow.

The GP mentioned systemic beta blockers or steroids, which I don't want to do for various reasons.

From what I've read, laser may or may not be effective and topical beta blockers have good results, but it's an off-label use.

I'm wondering if anyone here has had any experience with this mark and/or any treatments for it.

Thank you!

hemel07 Thu 19-Sep-13 21:06:05

my dd1 had a strawberry birthmark at the top of her forehead, just on the hairline in the middle. It grew to about 1.5cm/2cm high and round like a 10pence. I was quite self conscious about it on her behalf, she wore a lot of hats!! It stopped growing when she was about 6months old and gradually got flatter and flatter over time. She is now 8 and it is completely flat but still red. I didn't really consider treatment as it stopped growing quite quickly so can't really advise you in that respect.

juniperinNZ Wed 25-Sep-13 00:08:19

Hi, my ds1 has a haemangioma with a strawberry mark on top, it started growing when he was a couple of weeks old (appeared as a red mark to start with) and then the haemangioma (lump) started growing. It is just above his eyebrow and the haemangioma kept growing until it was almost golf ball size at around 14 months, and the strawberry mark was very red with purple on the lump. It took me a lot of going back to the drs to finally get seen by a specialist at the hospital, but when we did they were concerned about the speed of growth and whether it was starting to intrude into the eye.
The specialist we saw (who was brilliant) had just started using propranolol (beta blockers) to treat another baby with a strawberry mark and was getting great results, so he recommended we try it too. They recommend the best time to start is when they are under 12 months, but DS1 was 14 months and we couldn't have been happier with the results - it took a little while, but the bright colour completely went, leaving only a dull red mark, and all the purple colouring went from the lump. He still has the haemangioma (he is 3 now) but is small now and just looks like he has bumped his head. We didn't notice any side effects from the propranolol, the hospital was very good about regular check ups too. He was on it for about 8 months.
Interestingly, my DD was also born with one on the side of her head, however that cleared up on it's own by the time she was about 2, and was hidden by hair. My DS2 has no birthmarks at all. I also know another girl who had a large strawberry mark on her forehead, but she is now 4 and with no treatment at all you would only notice it if you knew it was there (looks like a light bruise).
If you want more info about the treatment we had or you want to see some pics of how it worked for my ds1 you are very welcome to pm me. I found it very upsetting sometimes with people pointing at DS1 and making some pretty nasty comments (adults only, never children hmm ), and I found it quite difficult to get any advice - I have even had to explain to drs what it is before...

Imnotaslimjim Wed 25-Sep-13 00:19:46

Md DD has a strawberry mark develop at about 6 weeks old. It was on her scalp. It grew to the size of a 50p piece, and was very raised. Thankfully she had no hair til she was 3, so didn't have to worry about catching it with a brush. at 3.5yo, it started to fade, and by 4yo, it was just 3 little dots, and we only see it because we know where it was

TBH though, while I can understand that you DC skin is not the perfect, unblemished sheen he was born with, are you sure you want to put him through treatment for something that could well just fade on its own?

jennyapples Fri 27-Sep-13 10:32:44

Thank you Juniper for your experience - that's what frightens me, that it could grow very large and then it might be hard to stop. I think we're going to see the GP about options. I don't want to give him propanalol because I've taken that before and didnt' have a good reaction to it (it basically gave me ME). I'm wondering about laser treatment, though. There isn't much information out there.

Imnotaslimjim - I see what you're saying, but it's less about perfection and more about not wanting to send my kiddie to school with a big thing on his face if i can avoid it. I had skin troubles as a little one myself, and I know how awful it is. If there is a safe treatment (like laser), I would like to pursue it.

awakemysoull Fri 27-Sep-13 10:37:47

My dd had a heamangeona on her eyelid. It started developing at 4 months old and by the time she was 6 months it was very obvious and quite big.

The doctors at the time had recently started using propranolol to shrink the blood vessels. This was back in 2009 when it was all very new.

I agreed to use it and yes it did shrink it quite rapidly. As soon as we stopped using it, the heamangeona grew back

She is 4 now and it's almost fully away.

The only comments I've had about it were from adults - very nasty ones sometimes and others asking what I did to her. Children have never bothered about it and hopefully by the time she starts school she will have 'outgrown' it and it won't be visible.

I don't think this will help you in anyway, just wanted to add a story so you seen the outcome from other children with the same sort of birthmark

brettgirl2 Sat 28-Sep-13 07:56:33

Dd is 4 and has a large one on her arm and a smaller one on her neck (and side of torso but obviously not visible) Admittedly a bit different to head as the largest one is not visible all the time but I think you need to work out why you are doing this. When she was younger, I'll be honest I felt more comfortable with her in long sleeves sad as I was aware of people making comments and I kept having to explain what it was etc. Although they stopped growing and started getting smaller she's now at school....

This might sound odd but honestly as she's got older it's become less of a problem. Kids are always asking about it and she just fixes them with a hmm confused and explains with a 'you must be thick' tone to her voice that it is a strawberry birthmark, because everyone knows that surely.

Its only a problem if its made into one I think. FWIW I had a massive one on the back of my head apparentky which disappeared much quicker than dd's seem to be.

juniperinNZ Sat 28-Sep-13 12:47:46

jennyapples, I was a bit concerned about ds1 taking propranolol myself, but it is tiny amounts (about 0.5mls I think twice a day) and we never saw any side affects, and he was very well monitored. With regards to laser treatment we were told that it is not something they would normally consider, as the strawberry marks do tend to fade (I think he said it was a 90% chance - can't remember exactly though), and for the haemangioma it is not something that would help at all as it is a deformity of the blood vessels. I think they used to use steroids to treat them, but we were told propranolol was a much better and safer choice. We didn't have any regrowth after we stopped using it, but it may have been out of that growth period by then.

With regards to not having to treat it, we had the decision made by the fact it might have started to push onto his eyeball and affect vision, however, there were other things to consider, such as we were told if he knocked it then it would bleed profusely (luckily he always managed to avoid falling there!). My ds1's haemangioma is also in a very prominent place on his face and we were worried that the fact it was so large and still growing would affect him from a social point of view - it wasn't about him not having perfect skin, but that it can be very hard to look different.

You are so right though awakemysoull it is the adults that are cruel. They were definitely in the minority, but when ds1 was a baby we had some adults stop and point at him and make loud comments to each other, or others would ask if I dropped him hmm. The worst one I had was at the school gates when a woman looked at ds and then proclaimed to her friends "urgh look at that baby, that horrible lump is all you see isn't it" which had me crying all the way home. BUT, and it is a big but, not one child has ever made a comment about it to him which I think says a lot and I feel pretty confident he won't have any problems at school even if it doesn't go completely.

We probably have an adult a day ask him if he has bumped his head, which he is starting to get a bit annoyed with, but I just politely say "no, it's a birthmark" and I hope he will learn to just say that and be confident. It upset me for a while when he was a baby, but now we just see it as a total part of him - it would be strange if it wasn't there! I am very glad we used the propranolol though as it did make a huge difference to the colour and size of it, although I totally appreciate it is not for everyone and as I said in my last post I know other children who had one (including DD) and they faded almost completely on their own. Good luck with it all, it can be a pretty lonely thing as there is not much info available I found. Like I said, pm if you want smile

galwaygirl Sat 28-Sep-13 13:08:22

Wow, no advice I'm afraid OP but so interested to read there are new treatments. I have a huge one on my arm and I understand you wanting to help minimise your son's as it was a big issue for me growing up. I've had two ops but never bothered getting the final one as I've found as I've got older it bothers me less so even if you can't get rid of completely try not to worry too much. I agree with the poster above who said adults are much worse than kids.

brettgirl2 Sat 28-Sep-13 16:03:05

Jeez what an utterly vile group of women. Did none of them disagree? ?? Disgusting.

Seoulsister Sun 29-Sep-13 19:37:35

My dd developed one on a much less sensitive place-her lower back, so different issues. It was like 3 strawberries. I did seek advice, but was told to wait (this is a way back) . However, and this is the reason I'm posting, it did fade and go on its own by the time she was seven/eight. I do realise this may not help in the cases of highly visible or growing ones.

Milco Mon 30-Sep-13 10:06:32

Hi Jennyapples (and everyone else here)

There is a very helpful support group which I have benefitted from. I have particularly found their facebook group particularly useful, as you can post your questions and get lots of responses from people in similar situations. If you look at the far bottom right of their webpage you'll see a link.

My DD (3yrs) has/had 3 strawberry marks and has one large portwine birthmark on her left chest/arm/hand. The three strawberries are very much on the wane (one is pretty much gone already). They did not grow beyond a couple of cm, but as they were not on her face, and because also of her larger (permanent) birthmark on her arm we did not worry about them so much.

She is having laser for the portwine. It is a good treatment for this, but not something I would enter into lightly. The people on the FB group will be able to speak more about this, but I think laser is only used on strawberry marks as a final resort after the birthmark has disappeared as much as it is going to. It does seem that the vast majority of strawberries disappear of their own accord without ever growing large. I had one myself on my forehead as a baby. But I do really understand your worry that your son's might be one of the small percentage that do grow a lot. But I think you could use propanol then, if it did suddenly grow?

Anyway, would really recommend that group. I have found them fab. Best of luck x

jennyapples Mon 30-Sep-13 22:21:24

Thank you all for your support and experiences! Mumsnet is the reason I'm able to breastfeed (massive support through tongue tie issues) and I knew this lovely community would be able to help again!

FIL gave us a hard time for even considering any treatment but as it's on his face, we really don't want to let it get out of hand.

There is some experimental treatment which is a topical beta blocker that is supposed to be safe and good and I'd be interested in looking into that.

People keep saying that laser is not to be taken lightly - why is that?

I will look at the website linked above. Thank you all again - serious food for thought, and making me feel more comfortable with letting this fade on its own xx

busymummy10 Tue 01-Oct-13 20:44:31

My DD 3yrs developed the hemangeoma on her face, neck and inside her airways at 2 months. She was admitted to GOSH immediately as she was having difficulty breathing. The medical team put her on propanalol and it started working immediately. It basically saved her from having a tracheostomy. She was on it for a year and the birth mark shrunk from 70% to 15%! She had to have weekly blood pressure checks though as propanalol is a heart medication.

The dermatologist has told me that in most cases they do disappear but over a long period of time and has said that laser works, but would have to be done under general anaesthetic and works to reduce/ minimise its appearance but on very small areas at a time.

To be honest my DD looks beautiful to me. All I see are her eyes and smile and barely notice the birthmark. I do not notice it reducing it as much as others do as I see her daily. Hopefully it will disappear on its own but if it doesn't then I will allow her to decide when she is older if she wants it done. If she was bullied at school for it then I would have to consider this sooner, but I have not had any problems so far. Children do not discriminate, it's the adults as they seems to think she has a rash.

I would recommend propanalol but for a short period as it reduces it considerably and gives it a head start at shrinking but I think they really only prescribe it where there is some sort of medical risk.

Milco Fri 04-Oct-13 22:55:45

Hi Jennyapples

In answer to your question about laser - I say it really because for us (and I think in the uk for any young child, though I might be wrong) it is done under general anaesthetic. In our case - and again I'm not certain about strawberries - you are looking a at a course of many treatments. Every time it happens I worry a lot about the (very small) risk of something going wrong with the anaesthetic. Obviously if dd's life were at risk etc I would not hesitate about this, but this is just cosmetic - though we are only doing it because I think there is a chance of it being a psychological issue for her later if we do nothing.

So far we have had 3 treatments, with at least 3 more planned (dd is 3 now). It is not a fun process, but on balance we think we are doing the right thing as her type of birthmark will remain, and may well darken and thicken with age withouth laser treatment.

I think the approach in the uk is much more to let nature take its course and only intervene where there is a clear benefit which outweighs the risks. In the US they tend to be a lot more interventionist. Worth being aware of when you look at stuff on the Internet.

Hope that helps x

icclemunchy Fri 04-Oct-13 23:23:46

Hey, my DD had a huge strawberry on her lower lip/chin (still does really) it started growing at around 6days and by 10days it had ulcerated and was affecting her feeding. We went to GOSH who are amazing!! I'd deff try and get there if at all possible. She was treated with propranolol until just after her 2nd birthday and its now fading on its own.

we've had some very cruel comments from adults including one who told me the hospital should of given me makeup to cover up he disgusting face and a woman on a check out in Tesco who shouted "omg what is THAT" whilst pointing at her facesad
kids usually just tell me shes got jam on her face grin

id speak to a specialist about the meds if I was you, I know there's a few options but as the consultant at GOSH told us they don't like putting tiny babies under for the laser and it can be painful, also the criteria is quite strict from what she said there just isn't the funding to teat for purely cosmetic reasons

Milco Sat 05-Oct-13 08:45:49

Icclemunchy it makes me so angry when I hear the horrible things some adults say. I suppose I should feel sorry for them that they are either so stupid or have had such nasty things said to them that they don't know better sad

Glad to hear that your dd's birthmark is starting to fade now - will make life easier for you both I'm sure.

lotsofcheese Sat 12-Oct-13 22:03:10

My DD has 2 haemangiomas - one on her chest, the other on her face, close to her ear. She was born a month early; I understand premature girls are more likely to have them.

She's been on propranolol since the end of July. She had to be treated as her facial one was beginning to encroach on her ear canal, which would have had implications for her hearing & speech development. She went into hospital to start propranolol & I was allowed to stay in with her, which gave me confidence that she was tolerating this medication without side-effects.

It has made a dramatic difference - the haemangioma was so disfiguring & growing so rapidly before we started medication, it was a relief to start it.

The only things I worry about with propranolol now are: if she becomes ill, and making sure she has a late night feed with her last dose of milk (the unit seem to think it's ok to stop this but I worry about low blood sugars).

I guess I'm just trying to reassure you about the propranolol - the dosage is completely different in children to adults, and in many cases started in hospital so that you have reassurance.

getoffthecoffeetable Sat 12-Oct-13 22:06:33

DS had one which developed when he was three days old. We were referred to the plastic surgeon at the children's dept who told us it would grow and then disappear by the time he was four. It grew near to his eye and we were worried about it but he's two and a half now and it had disappeared completely by his second birthday.

Poosnu Sat 12-Oct-13 22:20:28

I'm really interested to hear about these new treatments.

DD had several over her body, with one fairly prominent haemangioma in her hairline. I was very worried about it but it didn't get particularly large and has almost disappeared (she is now 2.3). We sought advice, but was advised against treatment for something that was purely cosmetic in DD's case.

DH also had these as a baby / toddler, so if there is an element of genetics involved I expect DC2 (due in a couple of weeks) to have them too. I'll be more clued up thanks to this thread.

Bunbaker Sun 13-Oct-13 00:31:27

"My DD 3yrs developed the hemangeoma on her face, neck and inside her airways at 2 months. She was admitted to GOSH immediately as she was having difficulty breathing. The medical team put her on propanalol and it started working immediately. It basically saved her from having a tracheostomy."

Wow! I wish this treatment had been around 13 years ago. DD was born in 2000 and developed a haemangioma on one of her vocal chords. She had a trachy at 9 weeks old and it stayed in for over three years until the haemangioma shrank.

She had one on her back as well and now you can't see it at all.

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