Hemangiomas are common benign tumors of infancy. They usually first appear after birth and grow gradually within the first year and disappear thereafter. Hemangiomas are common in the head and neck, although they can be seen in any part of the body. Although most lesions are easily noticeable from their strawberry-like appearance, deeper hemangiomas may be covered by normal skin or show minimal discoloration.

Most hemangiomas can be recognized easily, and require no imaging studies for diagnosis, although deeper hemangiomas may require imaging studies. Typically, MRI is used for diagnosis and to evaluate the extent of the lesion. Some hemangiomas require intervention, either because they could be disfiguring or might endanger the child’s normal functions. These include hemangiomas that are obstructing breathing or vision, and those that are ulcerated or bleed.

What is alcohol ablation?

Alcohol Ablation, also known as Sclerotherapy, is the injection of a sclerosing substance directly through the skin into a lesion or hemangioma. Absolute alcohol (ethanol) is the most commonly used sclerosant agent because of it’s superior ability to cause endothelial damage and introduce thrombosis. This procedure is performed while under general anesthesia. Various needles are used under ultrasound guidance to obtain access and then the sclerosant agent/absolute alcohol is injected into the lesion very carefully. Most patients will require more than one procedure to completely remove the hemangioma.

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