A small fright is not enough when suddenly red spots or knots appear on the skin of the newborn. As a rule, the pediatrician can calm down: sponges, or as the doctor says, hemangiomas are nothing more than a whim of nature. In many cases, after a few years they disappear just as suddenly as they came. So wait and see instead of treating? This principle is no longer unconditional today. What parents should know about blood sponges, we show in this article.
Definition: What are blood sponges?
Hemangiomas are benign growths of the blood vessels in the skin and subcutaneous tissue. They occur in about every tenth baby in the first year of life, without the cause being finally clarified. What you know: Infants and girls are statistically more likely to be affected. At the time of birth, sponges are - unlike the elusive stork bite or a so-called Feuermal - not yet available.
Dr. Stefan Holland-Cunz, chief physician of pediatric surgery at the University Hospital Heidelberg explains: "A hemangioma develops within the first three to four weeks of life." In the beginning, red dots are visible, but they can grow rapidly in the first few months of life. Although these patches are harmless and often form on their own without leaving scars worth mentioning. Nevertheless, it is advisable to have the Blutschwämmchen looked at early by the pediatrician and may document his extent with photos.
The doctor decides in individual cases, if at all, and if so, how therapy is. "In a superficial hemangioma, such as on the wrist, you can certainly wait and see if it spontaneously regresses by itself, which usually happens up to the age of five, " said the pediatric surgeon. Blood sponges on the face, neck or genital area as well as rapidly growing hemangiomas would, according to modern doctrine, be regarded as "emergencies", ie they should be treated within a few days. Too much is the danger that important body orifices are reduced or displaced to life-threatening proportions - for example, windpipe, eye, nose, mouth and ear. In the anal and genital areas, additional complications threaten when the skin rubs up on the contents of the diaper.
The mental stress of the child due to taunting can speak for an early intervention. At Heidelberg University Hospital, a center of excellence has been set up, in which dermatologists and pediatric surgeons decide together on the individual optimal therapy. Common procedures include icing of the hemangioma by means of cryotherapy and lasering of the skin area.
Blood sponges and internal organs
A rare special case are sponges that affect internal organs or the brain or spinal cord. "There is no connection with any external hemangiomas", explains Dr. med. Holland-Cunz which is why it is often a random finding. The treatment of choice is done here medically, such as cortisone. The good news: Blood sponges are always benign, they do not itch or bleed. Whether treat or wait, at some point this mood of nature is over again.