The presence of a visible and disfiguring facial hemangioma can cause a parent to feel considerable distress. Tanner et al evaluated parents and their ability to cope with this problem. The authors are from the University of California in San Francisco.


Selection: infant or young child with a prominent facial hemangioma


Parental responses included:

(1) disbelief

(2) fear or panic

(3) loss, mourning and grief

(4) sense of social stigma

(5) guilt and shame

(6) depression

(7) sense of being alone

(8) not taking the child out into public, concealing the child


Things that can make things worse for the parents:

(1) accusations of child abuse by strangers

(2) negative comments or reactions by people who encounter the child

(3) enlargement of the hemangioma during its growth phase


Things that can make things better for the parents:

(1) knowledge that the condition is transient

(2) effective management of the hemangioma

(3) contact with supportive family and friends


Negative consequences may include:

(1) dissatisfaction with medical care

(2) distorted relationship between the parent and child

(3) negative self-image for the child if old enough to be made fun of by peers


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