A cherry angioma is the most common benign vascular tumor. They predominantly appear on the arms and upper trunk. While they can develop in other areas, it is unusual for them to appear on the hands, face, and feet. Although removal is often unnecessary, cherry angiomas can usually be removed without leaving a scar.
Cherry angiomas are bright red papules. They are often dome-shaped, but they can be smooth and even with the skin. They vary drastically in size, with some as small as a pinhead and others the size of a pencil eraser. Cherry angiomas can appear singularly, but it is not uncommon for someone to develop multiple spots.
There is no identified cause of cherry angiomas, though some conditions correlate with an increased risk of developing them. They are more likely to occur in people with diabetes, liver transplant recipients, and patients who are immunocompromised from being treated with cyclosporin. They are also more common in people who live in tropical climates.
Cherry angiomas usually do not appear until a person is in their 30s, and the chances of getting them increase with age. Their appearance may change over time, growing in size or increasing in number. The lesions are almost always asymptomatic, though they may bleed when picked or scratched.
Some cherry angiomas have light-colored halos around them. One study demonstrated that while halos are not common, they are also not extremely rare. About five percent of people in this study had cherry angiomas with halos. They appeared more frequently in those over age 59, those with more than four cherry angiomas larger than three millimeters.
Cherry angiomas do not usually need treatment. If they bleed or are located in a cosmetically unappealing place, they can be removed by electrocauterization. This method involves using a small probe to deliver an electric current to the growth. Electrocauterization is usually effective and does not leave behind obvious scarring.
Another somewhat effective treatment is cryosurgery. The doctor applies liquid nitrogen using a small spray device or cotton swab. The skin is frozen quickly and then slowly thaws, which damages the cells. Cryosurgery may eventually remove the cherry angioma, but it generally requires multiple treatments and it is not as effective as other approaches.
Laser surgery is another treatment option. A pulsed dye laser induces damage to the vessel walls of the cherry angioma. Bruising may occur immediately after treatment and may take a week or more to resolve. This is a quick outpatient procedure, but multiple sessions may be needed, depending on the number of angiomas.
Shave excision is another treatment option. This method is best for raised cherry angiomas. The doctor uses a small blade or an electrosurgical tool to make repetitive horizontal cuts into the tissue. It requires no sutures or stitches. Scarring is a possibility with this procedure, though it is uncommon.
Despite being the most common vascular skin tumor, cherry angiomas are poorly studied. Determining pre-disposing factors and the risk of developing the growths is difficult, though there appears to be a strong correlation between cherry angiomas and chronic immunosuppression. The herpes virus may play a part in the development of cherry angiomas, but this connection requires further research.
Cherry angiomas are prone to bleeding if injured, so home remedies and attempts at self-removal are highly discouraged. Attempting to remove a cherry angioma at home can also result in scarring and infection. See a doctor to ask about removal or if you notice any changes with the angioma or any other skin lesions.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.