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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

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

 A cherry angioma is:

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

Exams and Tests

Your health care provider will look at the growth on your your skin to diagnose a cherry angioma. No further tests are usually necessary. Sometimes a skin biopsy may be used to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment

Cherry angiomas usually do not need to be treated. If they affect your appearance or bleed often, they may be removed by:

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

Outlook (Prognosis)

Cherry angiomas are noncancerous. They usually do not harm your health. Removal usually does not cause scarring.

Possible Complications

A cherry angioma may cause:

  • Bleeding if it is injured
  • Changes in appearance
  • Emotional distress

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call 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: Elsevier Mosby; 2009:chap.23

North PE, Kincannon J. Vascular neoplasms and neoplastic-like proliferations. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, et al, eds. Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2012:chap 114.

Woodhouse JG, Tomecki KJ. Common Benign Growths. In: Carey WD, ed. Cleveland Clinic: Current Clinical Medicine 2010. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2010.


Review Date: 11/20/2014
Reviewed By: Richard J. Moskowitz, MD, dermatologist in private practice, Mineola, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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