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Risk stratification in hemangiomas of infancy.

Hemangiomas of infancy are very common tumors, but they are heterogeneous in their behavior. A small, but significant, subset causes medical complications or permanent disfigurement, but due to their heterogeneity, there is no appropriate "one size fits all" approach to management. In addition, the rapid evolution of this tumor over the first weeks-to-months of infancy renders even more difficult the task of predicting which infants will have medical complications or permanent disfigurement. This article outlines the clinical characteristics that help to stratify hemangiomas into those which are high risk, and likely to require either active treatment or closer scrutiny, and those which are low risk, and likely to behave in an innocuous manner. Five major factors are emphasized: the age of the child, the location of the hemangioma(s), the total number of hemangiomas present, the hemangioma subtype, and the presence and nature of dermal involvement.

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