Pediatric Dermatology Consult

An infant girl presents with a growing pink-red leg nodule

A 3-month-old female presents for evaluation of her left upper leg, where the family noticed a pinkish to slightly brown area at birth, with increasing thickness over time. They initially though it was a simple birthmark, but are concerned with its growth. They deny any history of trauma to the left leg. They also deny any other lumps on the body or any drainage, bleeding, or ulceration from the lesion. Medical history is unremarkable, and the child has been thriving.
On physical exam, you see an infant with a mass of the left lower extremity. Close examination reveals an approximately 7 cm x 8 cm poorly defined mass with overlying central erythematous to violaceous color of the left anterior upper leg with a lumpy texture. The lesion is moderately firm and mildly tender on palpation.

What is your diagnosis?

Tufted angioma

Infantile hemangioma

Congenital hemangioma

Nevus flammeus


What should the evaluation and management of this patient be?

Initial workup should include a complete blood count with platelet count as well as coagulation studies including D-dimer, fibrinogen, prothrombin time, and activated partial thromboplastin time, to assess for any thrombocytopenia or coagulopathy.6 Ultrasound and/or MRI may also be performed to determine lesion extent. While typical MRI findings might be suggestive of a tufted angioma or hemangioendothelioma, biopsy for histologic examination is usually the approach to diagnosis, which will demonstrate stereotypic round lobules of capillaries in a “tufted” distribution.2,7 Biopsy may be performed by a surgeon or dermatologist but bleeding at time of biopsy needs to be considered before moving forward with the procedure.

Tufted angiomas of early life may regress spontaneously, though lesions with symptoms, with functional significance, or associated with KHE may require therapy. Surgical excision is one option, but it may be difficult to execute given that these lesions often have poorly defined margins.1 Other treatment choices include but are not limited to aspirin, systemic corticosteroids, vincristine, interferon-alpha, embolization, and sirolimus.8 No specific expert-directed consensus guidelines exist for these lesions, and suspicion of this lesion should prompt urgent referral to a pediatric dermatologist. Concern for Kasabach-Merritt syndrome should trigger immediate referral for rapid evaluation and management.

Complete blood count with platelet count and coagulation studies were normal in our patient. This infant underwent biopsy to confirm the diagnosis of tufted angioma and MRI to determine lesion extent. The lesion slowly involuted spontaneously without recurrence.

Mr. Haft is a pediatric dermatology research associate in the division of pediatric and adolescent dermatology at the University of California, San Diego, and Rady Children’s Hospital, San Diego. He is MS4 at the University of Rochester, N.Y. Dr. Eichenfield is vice chair of the department of dermatology and professor of dermatology and pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego, and Rady Children’s Hospital, San Diego. Neither Mr. Haft nor Dr. Eichenfield have any relevant financial disclosures.


1. Herron MD et al. Pediatr Dermatol. 2002;19(5):394-401.

2. Jones EW and Orkin M. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1989;20(2 Pt 1):214-25.

3. Wong SN and Tay YK. Pediatr Dermatol. 2002;19(5):388-93.

4. Croteau SE and Gupta D. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2016;35(3):147-52.

5. Kelly M. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2010;57(5):1085-9.

6. Osio A et al. Arch Dermatol. 2010;146(7):758-63.

7. Padilla RS et al. Am J Dermatopathol. 1987;9(4):292-300.

8. Liu XH et al. Int J Cancer. 2016;139(7):1658-66.


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