Birthmark excision

Alternative names
Hemangioma excision

A hemangioma is a non-cancerous blood vessel growth. Excision is surgery to remove it.

While the patient is deep asleep and pain-free (general anesthesia), the hemangioma is removed. If the hemangioma was large, the site may be covered with a skin graft.


Hemangiomas are the most common benign (non-cancerous) blood vessel growths in infants and children. Most go away with time, and occasionally with medication.

Large hemangiomas that cause symptoms or are disfiguring may require surgical excision. Alternatively, laser treatment may be an option if the hemangioma is superficial. Some liver hemangiomas are treated by blocking their feeding arteries (embolization).

The risks for any anesthesia are:

  • Reactions to medications  
  • Problems breathing

The risks for any surgery are:

  • Bleeding  
  • Infection  
  • Scarring

Expectations after surgery
Cosmetic improvements depend on the size and location of the lesion and the surgeon’s skill. Generally, the long-term outlook is quite good.

The hospital stay will depend on the extent of surgery. Complete healing may take up to 6 weeks.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 2, 2012
by Arthur A. Poghosian, M.D.

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