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.

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 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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15 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 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.

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