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A hemangioma is a generally benign but abnormal growth of blood vessels. It usually resembles either a red growth on the skin or a bluish growth underneath the skin. However, it can grow on other organs as well. It is the most common type of tumor, particularly in persons of European descent where up to 10% of children develop one at some point in their lives.
In most cases, hemangiomas are completely harmless and will disappear on their own without leaving a scar. However, this is a process that takes about two years from the date the hemangioma starts to grow to the date it disappears. In some cases they will ulcerate, which will cause severe bleeding. In rare cases, they will become large and permanently stretch the skin. In these cases, they can be surgically removed. A large hemangioma can also interfere with breathing or vision.