Of the four million children born each year in the U.S., four hundred thousand
are born with a vascular birthmark. While 90 percent of these birthmarks
disappear by 1 year of age, 40,000 babies are born with a significant vascular
birthmark that requires the opinion of a specialist. The parents of these
children often feel confused and helpless. We have written this book to
act as a guide for the parents and family of children with vascular birthmarks;
however, adults with birthmarks may also find this book valuable. By drawing
from many sources, we have compiled a comprehensive book on hemangiomas
and vascular malformations, and much of the information we present is new.

One goal of this book is to help you, the parent or family of a child with a vascular birthmark,
see that you are not alone. Therefore, we have made extensive use of illustrations
and actual quotes from families. We have also drawn on the expertise of
many healthcare professionals. The information in this book will help
you make educated decisions regarding the best treatment for your child.
This book is all about hope and healing and the fact that everyone has
the right to look normal.

The diagnosis and treatment of vascular birthmarks is a source of anxiety and confusion
for all involved. Currently, no single medical specialty dedicated to
the diagnosis and treatment of vascular birthmarks exists. The diagnosis,
philosophy of treatment, and the prognosis different doctors offer is
not consistent, and doctors often use different terms to describe the
same lesion.

It's common for all vascular lesions to be called hemangiomas. While hemangiomas
are vascular lesions, not all vascular lesions are hemangiomas. Recently,
more precise methods of describing the different types of congenital lesions
have replaced the old terminology that confused both the medical community
and the lay public. If you can learn the language and the differences
between the types of lesions, you're on your way to contributing to a
correct diagnosis that will lead you to the correct treatment for your
child's lesion.