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Cherry angioma

Definition

A cherry angioma is a noncancerous (benign) skin growth made up of blood vessels.

Alternative Names

Angioma - cherry; Senile angioma

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Cherry angiomas are fairly common skin growths that vary in size. They can occur almost anywhere on the body, but usually develop on the trunk.

They are most common after age 30. The cause is unknown, but they tend to be inherited (genetic).

Symptoms

Skin lesion or growth:

  • Bright cherry-red
  • Small -- pinhead size to about 1/4 inch in diameter
  • Smooth, or can stick out from the skin

Signs and tests

Your health care provider will probably diagnose a cherry angioma based on the appearance of the growth. No further tests are usually necessary, though a skin biopsy may be used to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment

Cherry angiomas usually do not need to be treated. If they are cosmetically unattractive or they bleed often, angiomas may be removed by:

  • Burning (electrosurgery/cautery)
  • Freezing (cryotherapy)
  • Laser
  • Shave excision

Expectations (prognosis)

Cherry angiomas are noncancerous and generally harmless. Removal usually does not cause scarring.

Complications

  • Bleeding if they are injured
  • Changes in appearance
  • Psychological distress

Calling your health care provider

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if:

  • You have symptoms of a cherry angioma and you would like to have it removed
  • The appearance of a cherry angioma or any skin lesion changes

References

Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2009.


Review Date: 10/8/2010
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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