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Cherry angiomas

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Cherry angiomas

Also known as: Campbell de Morgan spots, cherry haemangiomas

What are cherry angiomas?

Cherry angiomas are the most common blood vessel overgrowths of the skin and typically present in the third or fourth decades of life. Cherry angiomas tend to increase in both size and number with advancing age. They occur in all races and sexes.

What causes cherry angiomas?

A cherry angioma is a harmless overgrowth of blood vessels in the skin due to proliferation of the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels. It does not cause any symptoms but may bleed due to friction or trauma.

What do they look like?

As the name suggests, cherry angiomas appear as tiny cherry red domes measuring 1 to 4 mm in diameter. Early angiomas are flat. They may occur as solitary lesions or number in the hundreds. They may be found on all body sites.

How are cherry angiomas diagnosed?

No investigations are required to diagnose cherry angiomas. However, your dermatologist may examine these with a dermatoscope if angiomas co-exist with moles or other suspicious skin lesions.

Are there conditions associated with cherry angiomas?

Cherry angiomas are frequently associated with hormonal changes particularly pregnancy. They often co-exist with seborrhoeic keratoses and with increasing age.

How are cherry angiomas treated?

Cherry angiomas are benign and will not grow into a skin cancer. They are treated for cosmetic reasons or if the lesions frequently bleed due to friction or trauma.

Vascular lasers such as KTP or pulsed dye laser provide the best treatment outcomes. Intense pulsed light can also be used.

Fine wire diathermy, excision, ablative laser and cryotherapy can be effective but carry a higher risk of scarring.

What is the likely outcome of cherry angiomas?

Cherry angiomas in adults tend to persist unless treated. Some people will continue to accumulate these lesions with age. However, in young children, they frequently spontaneously disappear.

This information has been written by Dr Davin Lim
Updated 15 January 2016

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