History

Hemangiomas and Vascular Birthmarks occur in approximately 40,000 children born annually. One in ten children are born with a vascular birthmark, and of these children, 1 in 100 are born with a birthmark that will require the opinion of a medical specialist. There are two categories of vascular birthmarks. These are hemangiomas, which are the most common tumor of infancy, and vascular malformations. These two categories, while related, are very different. It is very important to know the difference because the treatment is different depending on the lesion type.

Traditional medical protocol in years past was to allow these potentially disfiguring and dangerous lesions to grow and "wait" for regression or involution to occur. New data indicates that most of these lesions do not regress to a cosmetically acceptable appearance, and will, therefore, require some form of corrective surgery. As a result, there is a concerted effort on the part of several prominent physicians and research specialists to change the old "benign neglect" protocol to require more aggressive early intervention. Additionally, almost all benign vascular lesions have been called "hemangiomas." However, many are actually vascular malformations. It is important to have an accurate diagnosis since hemangiomas will regress but vascular malformations will continue to grow. This web site is dedicated to provide the most accurate and up to date information on the proper diagnosis and treatment of hemangiomas and other vascular birthmarks. This information is not only important for parents, it is critical for physicians and other health care providers.

Linda Rozell Shannon is the President and Founder of the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation. She has her Masters of Science degree in Health Education and has been a freelance writer and analyst for over 20 years. Linda is currently (2005) pursuing her PhD in Education and will be completing her dissertation on Vascular Birthmarks. In 1994, after her daughter, Christine Mary Shannon, was diagnosed with a hemangioma in 1994, Linda began researching and writing information on vascular birthmarks. In 1995, Linda learned about Dr. Milton Waner, and his work at Arkansas Children's Hospital. After he successfully removed her daughter's hemangioma in one 3 hour out- patient surgical procedure, she teamed up with Dr. Warner, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Arkansas Medical School (currently (2005) at the Birthmark Institute at the Beth Israel Hospital in NYC) to write the one and only book for parents on birthmarks. Today, Dr. Waner is an internationally recognized authority on the diagnosis and treatment of hemangiomas and vascular malformations. He has successfully treated thousands of child and adults with vascular birthmarks. Since 1994, Linda has successfully networked over 20,000 children and adults into treatment (as of December 2004). Linda and Dr. Waner, as well as other renowned physicians such as Dr. Martin Mihm, Jr., Dr. Edwin Williams III, Dr. Linda Brodsky, Dr. Sean Freeman, Dr. James Figge, Dr. Marsha DuPree and Dr. Marcello Hochman, etc., have established the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation. The primary objective of the VBF is to "enable every child born with a vascular birthmark to receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment." Details on the VBF appear in subsequent pages of this web site.