About 2 percent of all babies are born with a condition called nevus vascularis, which means small areas of the skin are a strawberry color. In most babies, the marks are found on the head or neck area, though others appear on the spine, arms and legs .
Such birthmarks are almost always benign and harmless, and they disappear within months or a few years. They are simply an overabundance of blood vessels at the site.
Commonly called “strawberry marks,” nevus vascularis appearances are most common in premature babies and can grow to an inch or so in length or diameter before slowly beginning to fade and then disappear. It is rare that a child’s strawberry mark is still present by the time the child is 7 years old .
In some cases, when the strawberry mark disappears, the skin might remain thinned or baggy. Here, the nurse or medical doctor can recommend minor plastic surgery, strictly for cosmetic purposes. The thin or baggy skin poses no health threat whatever, something the healthcare professional must stress to worried parents .
Occasionally, strawberry birth marks might be larger than normal. If they are near an eye, then steroid medicines or injections might be applied to prevent vision impairment. Laser surgery is another option in cases where the nevus vascularis mark might be a concern, especially around the eye .
Another action nurses can take is when the strawberry mark is on the child’s spine. Such marks are often raised, as well as red, and medical practitioners need to keep a watchful eye on them. Further, because of their location near the spine, there is a good chance that the marks are indicative of an abnormality in the development of the spinal column, or what is called a “tethered cord”.
Nurses or doctors detecting this condition must share full information with the child’s parents. While no surgical or other medical intervention might be necessary, the continued presence of the mark, or even a growth, is cause to advise parents to have their child undergo a magnetic-imaging resonance test (MRI) just to be on the safe side .
An MRI will determine whether the bones in the child’s spinal column are developing normally, as well as rule out such a possibility. In almost all such cases, there are no long-term deleterious effects; however, immediate involvement by nurses who might be treating the baby is essential, so no complications – however rare – can arise. Early detection, as always, is the key here.