Case Study: Sawyer Dembicky

Published On 08/10/2016

Diagnosis: Segmental Facial Hemangioma
Treatment: Propanalol

By the time Sawyer Dembicky visited her pediatrician for her 6-week checkup, the facial hemangioma that was present at birth had drastically grown in size.

“It was red and purple, and you could all these blood vessels,” said Amanda. “Her eye started swelling shut. We wondered what was going to happen to her eyesight.”


An MRI showed that the lesion had grown behind Sawyer’s left eye and was pushing it forward, out of orbit. She was immediately referred to Le Bonheur’s Pediatric Vascular Anomalies Center, where the family met with Teresa Wright, MD, chief of Pediatric Dermatology and Brian Fowler, MD, an ophthalmologist with Hamilton Eye Institute.

The physicians ordered additional imaging to rule out PHACE syndrome, a condition sometimes associated with segmental hemangiomas.

Sawyer was prescribed Propanalol, a beta blocker commonly used for hypertension. The drug was found to help reduce the size of vascular tumors in 2008. Her parents noticed a drastic difference in just 24 hours.

Today, Sawyer’s lesion continues to improve. Her swelling and hard spot under her cheek are gone, and her vision is the same in both eyes. She continues to follow up regularly in clinic.