Infantile hemangiomas

hemangiomasInfantile hemangiomas are the most common of benign tumors in children, and most often occur in the head or neck area, a CHOC otolaryngologist says.

Because of their location, these masses can cause trouble breathing, swallowing or speaking, and in some cases can be life-threatening if they cause an airway obstruction, Dr. Kevin Huoh says.

Infantile hemangiomas are more likely to occur in babies born under certain circumstances:

  • a premature birth
  • being born from a multiple pregnancy
  • birth as a result of in vitro fertilization
  • being Caucasian and female

Parents of children with a head or neck mass should talk to their pediatrician and request a referral to an otolaryngologist, which is also known as an ear, nose and throat doctor.

“If there is any persistent mass or growth on the head or neck that doesn’t go away, we would really advise parents to have their child evaluated by a pediatric head and neck specialist,” Dr. Huoh says. “Neck masses are common in children, and they can pop up at any time.”

CHOC’s hemangioma clinic treats young patients with various vascular anomalies. A team of experts including otolaryngologists, plastic surgeons, cardiologists, hematologists, laser surgeons and interventional radiologists work together to help these patients.

Learn more about otolaryngology services at CHOC.

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Tips for Tonsillectomy Recovery

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More than 530,000 tonsillectomies are performed each year in children ages 15 and younger, but the common procedure does require some recovery time.

Children will typically have a sore throat for a week to 10 days following surgery, and they usually feel well enough to resume their normal activities after two weeks, says Dr. Gurpreet Ahuja, an ear, neck and throat specialist and the CHOC Children’s Specialists Division Chief of Otolaryngology.

Children who are otherwise healthy and not obese or underweight typically leave the hospital the same day as their surgery, and most children can return to school a week later, he says.

Dr. Ahuja noted there is a small risk for bleeding after surgery, so children recovering from a tonsillectomy should stay close to home as a precaution. If excessive bleeding occurs, parents should contact their surgeon or physician immediately or take the child to the nearest emergency department.

Here are some tips for parents of children recovering from surgery to remove the tonsils and adenoids:

  • Ensure your child is drinking lots of water and fluids. Proper hydration is important to help prevent fever, bleeding or infections.
  •  To soothe the throat, have the child drink lots of chilled fluids like water and Gatorade, and eat soft, cold foods after surgery such as Popsicles, smoothies and ice cream.
  •  Have the child eat soft foods that are easy to swallow, such as pasta, rice, noodles, bananas and yogurt.
  • For pain management, patients ages 10 and younger can take over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Children older than 10 tend to have a little more pain and discomfort and may need a prescription pain medication. Contact your physician to ask about prescriptions for pain if needed, and also if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s recovery.

Learn more about otolaryngology at CHOC Children’s.