Neurofibromatosis and Hemangiomas
Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that spurs growth of tumors in the nervous system. Tumors originate in the cells that make up the nerves and the membrane that protects them (called the myelin sheath).
There are three types of neurofibromatosis:
- The most common, NF1, causes tumors to grow on nerves and less often in the brain and spinal cord. Abnormalities such as skin changes and bone deformities may occur. Surgery may be performed to remove tumors or to correct bone deformities.
- NF2, often arising in the teen years, inflicts hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and poor balance.
- Schwannomatosis is the rarest type. It is very painful and is most often diagnosed in adulthood.
A hemangioma, also called a “strawberry birthmark” or “strawberry nevus,” is made up of extra blood vessels that form a cluster. A hemangioma may be present at birth or may develop one to three weeks after birth.
Most of these birthmarks appear on the baby’s face, scalp, chest or back. Treatment usually isn't necessary as the hemangioma shrinks during childhood, although the skin may still show a mark or stay somewhat raised.
When hemangiomas interfere with sight, breathing, or hearing, they may be treated with medications, laser therapy, or surgery.