2018 classification (ISVVA.org) – rather functional and lacking in poetry!

Basically benign tumours, involving blood vessels.  Seen in 12% of all infants  – more common in girls, whites, premature infants, twins and are babies born to mothers of higher maternal age!  Mostly seen in head and neck region, including the face, but can be anywhere.

Tumours distinguished from malformations.

Infantile Haemangioma

Cutaneous/mucosal haemangiomata usually develop after birth, appearing in the first 8 weeks of life.  They then develop and grow for 6-12 months, often resembling a strawberry.  Most then start to reduce and fade gradually, although it can take up to 9 years.   Often there will be complete disappearance with no cosmetic defect, but there may well be scarring, telangiectasia, or loose fibro-fatty tissue.

Can be further differentiated by depth (superficial tend to be raised and bright red, deep are generally darker red or even purple/blue, they can also be mixed) and extent/pattern (focal or segmental).

Typically they are in the skin and soft tissues, but can sometimes affect the liver or airways.  Associated with GLUT-1 positive staining on biopsy.

Congenital Haemangioma

Much less common. Present at birth and do not progress, although they may grow proportionally with child.  Oval or round, plaques or exophytic.  Some rapidly involute during the first year of life but otherwise they are permanent.

Vascular malformations

Grow slowly compared with vascular tumours.  Usually present at birth but perhaps inconspicuous until child grows.  Can involve arteries, veins, lymphatics in various combinations.

Capillary malformations most common – dilated capillaries, classic port wine stain (naevus flammeus).  Darken over time, do not regress.  Can be associated with bone or soft tissue overgrowth. Multiple can be associated with underlying AVM!

Nevus simplex is the classic “stork bite” at the nape, eyelid or forehead at birth. Lighter, regress.

Venous malformation more ill defined, bluish, easily compressible.  Multifocal tend to be autosomal dominant.  Some syndromes eg Blue rubber bleb naevus syndrome (widespread, including palms/soles).

Lympoedema and cystic hygroma are the lymphatic versions.


  • Pyogenic granuloma – reaction to trauma, well demarcated, raised or even pedunculate
  • Telangiectasia eg Hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT)
  • Angiokeratoma – characteristic of tubersclerosis
  • PHACE syndrome (post fossa malformations, haemangiomata, arterial anomalies, cardiovascular defects, eye anomalies – but also midline defects)
  • Tufted angioma and Kaposiform haemangioendothelioma – similar histologically, but latter bruised, purpuric appearance, infiltrate into muscle/adipose tissue and associated with Kasabach-Merritt syndrome (consumptive coagulopathy).
[Seminar intervent radiol 2017][Ped dermatology 2016]