Doctor,what is that blue mark on my baby’s face?

I hear this question occasionally from mom’s who have already asked this of their regular pediatrician.  Usually the pediatrician doesn’t know or gives them an unsatisfactory answer.

This blue mark was not always apparent at the time of birth. It shows up later, dead center between the eyes right on top of the nasal bridge, usually after 4 months. In some babies as they get older, then it becomes thicker and very prominent. In boys you will see this mark in the active rambunctious ones who run, fall, crash and hit their heads often. This mark is a distended vein underneath the delicate tissues around the eyes and nasal bridge. As they age and continue with head trauma, there is back pressure in the venous system, that vein bulges and starts to thin and “carve out”  the overlying skin. In some babies, that mark is there from birth.

In infants, the head gets compressed during the birth process. Breast feeding immediately helps decompress and expand the cranium. Those bottle fed or very compressed from a long difficult vaginal birth will be more at risk. How do I know this, when other pediatricians don’t? Very easy.  I treat infants for all manner of problems. When I find head compression, I decompress and the vein(s) lighten immediately. In fact, I teach parents to watch it as a sign of increasing back pressure. It will coincide w/a number of issues – the child will start to get fussy, nap poorly, or wake up at night, the soft spot can be tight, hard and small.  This tells them when to bring the child back.  Check out my website for other photos of severely compressed heads.  I have tried to photograph and document the resolution of this vein after treatment but it does not stand up to my amateur camera; believe me, I have certainly tried.

www.doctorhoang.com

Addendum: October 23, 2010.  It seems that since I first wrote this blog, this is the most popular search.  This blue vein is very common.  Please moms if you want to find an osteopathic physician near you google www.cranialacademy.org although I do have to warn you that I am not a member (secondary to politics plus I am good enough to succeed without need of their directory referral service).  I will also say that traditional (old fashioned 10 fingered) osteopathic medicine is very much like martial arts and results and styles of physicians may vary somewhat; one of my patients calls this work our ‘Jedi Arts’.  Whatever you do, do not seek nor allow yourself to believe that MDs, chiropractors, physical therapist and especially craniosacral therapists can get you my results.  It is too difficult. They do not have enough training. My results come about after training to become a pediatrician (4 yrs college, 4 yrs osteopathic medical school, 3 yrs pediatrics training) and 7 yrs of hands on experience.  This  proprietary knowledge of the traditional DOs is not shared with any other types of professionals. They are still unformed, their nervous system too new…

Addendum 2: March 16, 2014. There are infants and children who grow up to have a bluish tinge on the inside bridge of the nose near the inside corner of the eye. This is back pressure building up in an area deep inside the brain called the ‘cavernous sinus’ and usually results from…a face plant, in infancy either onto carpet, or worse, onto wood or tile floor. This area and this fall in early infancy is near impossible to cure. My baby fell (or rather i dropped her,face plant) when she was 2 months old trying to calm her excessive fussiness. My 83 year old physician mentor (50 years hands on experience) was able to treat her in 20 minutes (where other doctors failed) and cured her of her fussiness. She is now 4 years old and when she has sinus issues, the deep dark circles come out.

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28 Comments on “Doctor,what is that blue mark on my baby’s face?”

  1. Stephanie Says:

    So if my baby has the blue lines between her eyes what do I need to do and is this dangerous will I do away??? I have so many questions!!!!!

    • letrinh Says:

      it is not dangerous, not life threatening. in fact, kids grow up to be adults and live ok with these increased pressures and adapt to this over the years and do not know any different. i think life would be nicer and easier once they get treated.

      • Ginny Says:

        I live in Atlanta so I can’t come to your practice. I’m wondering if your book can tell me what to do. My 8 month old daughter has this vein and so did my oldest son. His is gone. Her head is very round, but it almost bulges it’s so round. I wear here & breastfeed her. She is a very sensitive sleeper, but a happy baby in general. She was a bit colicky at first. My oldest was forever colicky. What can I do since you say not all MD’s in this sort of practice use your techniques?

      • letrinh Says:

        please don’t worry. if she is now a generally happy baby, that means that her head is coping with the mild pressure, very good sign. isn’t round good? symmetry is usually also a good sign. your “forever colicky” first child might like cranial OMT. there are 6 DOs in georgia that do cranial OMT. i found them on http://www.cranialacademy.com. look at the list and choose carefully. i usually recommend the ones in practice the longest and the ones who do it all the time. this is a skill set that becomes highly refined with age and experience. there is also an MD pediatrician who is on the list, but less experienced so…you will be able to figure it out…just do not settle for non-DOs, untrained ‘therapists’ to rub your children’s head…good luck.

  2. Carrie Says:

    If this is pressure related, is it safe to fly with my daughter? I suspected it had to do with head trauma, but our doctor just keeps saying it is just veins showing because she is so fair skinned. frustrating.

    • letrinh Says:

      yes, it is safe to fly with your daughter. This tiny vein is but a small tributary in a vast network of veins. yes, there is some small build up of pressure in this area from birth, from traumas; but like our roads, when there is an accident on the freeway that bottlenecks traffice or stops it outright, the surface or side roads can usually handle the increased pressure/traffice and do quite well…

  3. kathy Says:

    so my has a vein by the temple area that gets really dark and thick especially when he cries. sometimes it is almost unnoticeable under normal circumstances. It only started to show up lately around 5 months old. and i gave birth via c section. He has never had any head trauma. my pediatrician says its fine, but it just doesn’t seem normal to me. he seems like a normal baby though… any advise? this is related to what you are talking about? can it be fixed? are you considered a specialty…? would I need to be referred by the ped for insurance coverage with a HMO? if not covered how much is each visit ? thank you!

    • letrinh Says:

      wonderful that it is unnoticeable under normal circumstances. you can check his soft spot, if it is big and flat, that is a good sign. even though he was C-sectioned, some reasons why cranial bones may be “stuck” and cause veins to bulge may be: breech position, big baby, twins, positioned low, Braxton-Hicks, vomitting, post-dates. If he is a normal baby, there really is no reason to do anything. So normal to me would be – normal soft, soft spot. no other bulging veins, holds head symmetrically, eyes and ears are symmetric; good sleeper, happy baby, proportional and consistent height, weight, head circumference. yes, you can say this is a very esoteric sub-specialty. very few doctors know how to do this. HMO would not cover this. you would have to call and ask each doctor’s office about their experience and comfort level as well as charges. good luck.

  4. Haley Says:

    Thank you so much for your reply!!! I appreciate it so much!we will be coming in early April and I will call and schedule an appointment. Of course you can take a picture and I will update you on his progress. I’m so relieved to finally have answers. This is something I’ve searched since he was born and i finally found this article.
    I look forward to meeting you!

  5. Cro Says:

    Thank you for relaying this information, Dr. Hoang. My daughter has this vein visible since birth. She was breech position born via c-section. Doctors initially suspected craniostenosis at birth due to undetectable midline suture and small anterior fontanelle; however, this has since been ruled out. She has always had a smaller fontanelle but continues to develop typically at 9 months. Fine motor skills are WNL but she prefers to keep hands fisted and often keeps her thumbs tucked in while touching objects. I often wonder of there is a correlation between her fontanelle size and her fine motor skills and since reading this, I worry she may be experiencing discomfort despite being a generally happy child. Any guidance would be much appreciated. Thank you!

    • letrinh Says:

      i don’t know if i replied to your post or not. i apologize if i completely missed this one. Happy breech babies are fine; they have adapted. That history is still in there. Just today I treated a brand new 46 year old patient from another state and all her hip pain, her funny walk, her mild, minor depression, minor claustrophobia I attributed to her breech history. I was able to “unload” her mother’s liver from her head and I believe I got most of it. I will update her condition when she updates me in the future. it will be fine.

  6. Jennifer Says:

    Hi my 2 month old baby has the blue vein and I was told by my doctor not to worry about it. She’s bad it since she was born and it’s pretty noticeable at all times. However, my baby cries A LOT and I am concerned about her. I live in Delaware and looked on the list of doctors but I’m not sure what to say when I call. I also have said since day one that my babies head seems rather cone shaped. Am I able to send you a picture of it? My doctor also tells me that her head is normal. I’m starting to think she cries all the time because she’s in pain.

    • letrinh Says:

      hi jenny. you may contact me privately and i will find you the contact for one of us, an old school DO near you. yes. you may send me a photo. yes, you are correct, i believe she is in pain.

  7. Jennifer Says:

    My baby is a very happy baby but has the blue veib in the bridge and the blue in thr corners of his eyes. When he was 3 months I sat him in his seat on the table (where he was safe from his 16 month old brother) and where he was safe ended one day as his brother became tall enough to grab the seat and pull it off and it face planted baby. He cried for just a few minutes then seemed ok. No blue appeared until later which we took as bruising and seemed normal so we never took him to the doctor. He is a happy baby and sleeps well most the time. Then I looked at your website and I see things that may be wrong. His head has a large lumped shape behind his ear but seems rounded everywhere else and he also has the blue vein network on the sides of his head. Im now very concerned!!

    • letrinh Says:

      if he is happy and sleeps well there is no need to worry…yet. it seems that he is accomodating the injuury OK. babies, toddlers and kids can tolerate a little bump or two or three. i don’t like any kind of trauma but face plants are one of the OK ones and are easily treated later. we do get the side benefit of the shock to the frontal lobe of the brain; this is where we do our executive, multi-tasking functioning; so his brain cells here are going to form new and more connections. watch him and he will be a bright kid and a little on the hyper side; face plants usually lead to sinus congestion and darkness under and in between the eyes later. How old is he now? At such a young age, in infancy and toddlerhood you will not see the effects of this fall. It may play out in his body structure as he grows maybe at 3, 4 or 5years. My book shows you what to look for in the body: feet, buttocks, low back, chest, ribs, shoulders. Nothing dangerous, more a quality of life issue later…

  8. Raquel Says:

    Hi Dr Hoang I feel like a terrible mother because I have a 3 year old who I watched like a hawk & never had any accidents, but my 2nd baby fell off the lounge when I was breastfeeding late at night & fell asleep, he was only 8 weeks & it was onto a wooden floor, I took him to the hospital & he was fine but the blue line appeared on the bridge of his nose & it has gotten darker. He’s nearly 9 months old now, he also has visible blue veins across his forehead in a circle shape that go into his hair. We moved house & he has fallen off the bed twice, it’s a low bed, both times when I’ve been sleeping with him at night & he must have rolled, I usually put him back into the cot but again I fell asleep with him & woke up to him on the floor, the floors are carpeted, it happened last night & today I saw he has a blue vein near his eye under his eyebrow that wasn’t there before. I feel like his head is going to look all veiny & I’ve caused him damage, please help, will these veins go away? Does he need medical attention? He seems fine but I don’t know. I’m concerned about all these blue veins which are really obvious since he is very fair.

    • letrinh Says:

      not time to stress out…yet. most kids can tolerate a fall or bounce…life happens…if he is a happy kid, sleeps fine (easy to put down, doesn’t flop around all night, wakes up happy) then he might be able to adapt these past falls. life happens and any other accidents may decompensate him and he will have “disease,” most of which will be quality of life issues such as allergies, poor sleep, postural or gait subtle asymmetries…rarely dangerous or “damaging.” My book Osteopathy for Children explains in detail how these rolls and falls will affect his feet, posture and structure as he grows up…i also talk about a very safe way to help ease the trauma in the deep pelvic muscles that can later cause low back arching/tightness leading down to a stiff heavy walk or bouncy toewalking or early high arches…this safe way of exercising is very much like bicycling of the legs…he will show himself in 2 or 3 more years…plenty of time to observe, if there are no other history of long hard labor, car accidents, early dental or surgical interventions (also explained in book)…good luck…

  9. Kacey Sides Says:

    Hi!

    Thank you so much for this article. My 4 year old has a very visible blue line on the bridge of his nose and some days it appears to look black and blue. The veins sometimes can be noticeable around his eyes and to his temples as well. He was a very fussy sleeper since birth. I Breast fed him until he was 14 months old. The only trauma to the head he had was around age 3 where he fell back off a bench onto a concrete floor. He didn’t seem to have any large bumps or issues after that. He throws temper tantrums easy and has speech delays since before the fall. He is currently in speech therapy and is doing much better but you can see that he really struggles to say what he’s thinking sometimes. He still is not at the level a 4 year old should be. He also seems to have some minor sensory issues. I know something is just not right and I want to help him desperately. I wish we lived closer to come see you! I hope you can give me some advice or direction. We are currently going to a chiropractor but I don’t think that it is helping his condition. I saw that there is only one doctor in our area that comes up on the list. Any info you have would be helpful!! We live in Chattanooga, TN.
    Thank you,
    Kacey

    • letrinh Says:

      Backward falls can really knock the wind out of a person; it can be really scary; the fall crams the back occipital bone into the skull base and causes an opening to narrow. through this opening the veins of the head drain; when this drainpipe is kinked you will be backflow and venous congestion; veins are blue so you should see green blue bulging branches of river winding across the face and scalp. the opening also allows 2 nerves that control the tongue/back of throat -hence the speech issues. stop the chiropractic if you do not see improvement because high precision work should result in instantaneous changes. i checked one of our more “real” directories of doctors like me. http://www.cranialacademy.com input your location. i only came up with 2 names and they do not do enough osteopathy to get you the immediate results i want for your child. expand your search and several names popped up in georgia. it might be worth the drive. generally, you want a doctor who does osteopathy 100% of the time and look at how long they have been doing it. the older the more experienced, the better. you need to also talk to your doctor, have him examined and discuss slowing down or delaying his vaccines. the accident at 3 years old is traumatic brain injury. i’ve written mutliple times and places (book, website, blog) that i believe that autism is 1st a traumatic brain injury (or multiple injuries) followed by secondary biochemical (vaccines, meds, toxins, viral) or mechanical injury. good luck.

  10. Kacey Sides Says:

    One more thing I noticed from your pictures is his hair came in only on the top of his head. He was around 2 before you could see that it was slowly evening out. He was induced and pitocin was used. My labor was only a few hours though.

    Thank you again for your time!

    Kacey

    • letrinh Says:

      that probable was a ring around his head where he crowned at the point of greatest pressure/contraction. i find that infants that have problems are the ones that come out too fast (less than 6 hours) or too slow (greater that 16 hours). in labor the bones of the skull crank down gradually very much like moving gears; in fast labors, they are slammed and jammed. as the brain tries to grow the stuck bones don’t expand as easily. good luck to you in finding someone to help him. you instincts are dead on, trust it and let it guide you.

  11. Kacey Sides Says:

    Thank you so much for your reply. It gives me hope that we can help him. We do not do vaccines although I did initially start out with them slowly and then did more research and felt it wasn’t for us.
    How do I know what questions to ask the doctor to know if I’m going to the right one? I saw some that were a 100% and graduated between 1974-1989. I really wish you were closer!!

  12. Kacey Sides Says:

    I set him up with Richard Armond in Suwanee, GA. He is 2 hours away and is 100% Osteopathic and graduated in 1974. Could you look at his website and give me your opinion? Also, any questions we might ask to know we are in good hands.
    One more thing, we do Chiropratic care once a week for the last year and a half. Should we stop his completely until the Dr directs us?

    • letrinh Says:

      he appears to be very “old school” which is what you want. chiropractic is so varied in how it is taught with differing styles, my concern is that you have been going for a whole year and still with all those problems. doesn’t sound like he is progressing, why continue? yes, discontinue. i usually point out physical findings on my patients: veins, skin color, tone, nursing, mouth and tongue control, jaw freedom. a good osteopathic treatment should result in instantaneous, or at least by the end of the visit, visible changes in all aspects; one visit, i usually get 10-50% changes. expect and demand results of anyone you go to osteopathic, chiropractic, PT, herbalist, acupuncturist, any type of service providers.

      • Kacey Says:

        Good to know. We have an appointment for Wednesday. I will let you know how it goes. Thank you so much for your help. It means so much to me to be able to help our son be able to do all the things he struggles with and I’m praying this is what will do it. Again, thank you so much for posting this article and all the knowledge you have provided!

      • letrinh Says:

        yes, in the right hands, he has a great chance of living a normal life free from needing/dependent on anyone or anything including MDs, chiros, PTs, OTs and eventually even us DOs and ancillarys (meds, testing, etc.) and not getting stuck on any one “system.” yes, keep me posted.


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