Infantile haemangioma

Infantile haemangiomas are benign vascular neoplasms that correspond to the most common tumours of infancy. They virtually can occur anywhere, but the majority has a head and neck distribution. Characteristic growth and subsequent involution observed during the early childhood is the usual natural history of these tumours, and, in general, they do not require surgical treatment. 

On imaging, they present as well-circumscribed soft tissue masses with similar density and intensity to the muscles and vivid contrast enhancement. 

This article aims to be a generic discussion of the condition, for detailed and more specific imaging features, please refer to sub-articles:

They characteristically are small or absent at birth. During the first year of life, they have a proliferative phase with progressive enlargement, followed bt a stationary period and, finally, a progressive involution that happens along the early childhood.

General characteristics of the infantile haemangiomas will be described bellow, please refer to the sub-articles for more details in such common anatomical distributions. 

Infantile haemangiomas are predominantly superficial soft tissue lesions and thus can be easily assessed by ultrasound. They present as an echogenic well-defined mass that may exhibit a prominent high-flow vascularity on colour Doppler 1.

Lobulated mass with same density to the adjacent muscles and exhibiting a vivid and homogeneous contrast enhancement. They do not contain phleboliths.

Typical signal characteristics include

  • T1: intermediate signal, between that of muscle and fat
  • T2: hyperintense. Small low-signal-intensity areas may be present (flow-voids, fibrous tissue, or calcification) 
  • T1 C+ (Gd): homogeneous enhancement


  • other arteriovenous malformations

    • multiple flow voids
    • feeding and draining vessels
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Article information

rID: 44268
System: Paediatrics
Section: Pathology
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Infantile hemangioma
  • Infantile hemangiomas
  • Infantile haemangiomas

Cases and figures

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    Case 1: orbital
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    Case 2: parotid gland
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