Cherry angiomas, a benign skin tumor also known as 'Senile angiomas' and 'Campbell De Morgan spots', are cherry-red to purple spots that form on the skin. They are caused due to an abnormal growth of blood vessels and may vary in size. It is a common kind of angioma (benign skin growth) that arises most frequently after 40 years of age.
Cherry angiomas are made up of clumps of tiny enlarged capillary vessels on the surface of the skin, which are cherry-red to purple in color and are non-cancerous. One can experience bleeding if you scratch, cut, or rub the angioma. The growth often increases with age and is common in both the sexes, of all cultural backgrounds and races. There is no known prevention for cherry angiomas.
Cherry angiomas is considered to be the most widely found type of angiomas. Also, there are two other types of angiomas, namely spider angiomas and angiokeratomas. Spider angiomas are usually common in children and pregnant women, and can cause damage to the liver. Angiokeratomas are vascular wounds that develop on the skin. They occur due to excessive growth of blood vessels and skin cells, and are not considered dangerous.
Causes of Cherry Angiomas
The actual cause of this skin tumor still remains unknown, but they may be genetic in nature. In rare occasions, they may be caused due to the existence of a developing internal malignancy.
Cherry angiomas occur on almost any part of the skin, but it is commonly found on the torso. It sometimes also occurs on the face, neck, scalp, arms, shoulders, and legs. When they first develop, they are about the size of a pinhead, appearing as small red dots, and do not bulge above the surface of the skin.
However, Cherry angiomas gradually grow to about ¼ inch or more and tend to expand in thickness as they grow larger, and may sometimes take on the rounded shape of a dome. According to researchers, more than 70% of people aged 70 years or older have cherry angiomas.
Due to multiple adjoining of angiomas, polypoid angiomas are formed. The blood vessels consisting of an angioma are so close to the skin surface, that if injured, may bleed profusely. For this reason, cherry angiomas should not be punctured and should be removed only by trained medical personnel.
Characteristics of Cherry Angiomas
The characteristics of cherry angiomas are:
- Smooth in texture
- Bright red in appearance
- About ¼ inch in diameter
Treatment of Cherry Angiomas
Cherry angiomas are mostly harmless and do not need treatment, unless they bleed. Many people with this type of skin growth may opt for cosmetic surgery. It is always advisable to consult a dermatologist regarding the appropriate method of treatment. Some common procedures used in the treatment of cherry angiomas are:
This technique, a minor operative method, is widely and most commonly used to treat cherry angiomas. It involves using an electric needle to remove the angioma.
This procedure uses liquid nitrogen to freeze out the affected area. The tumor is destroyed by using a spray gun on the affected area of the skin.
Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL)
This technique uses a sharp, concentrated ray of focused light to destroy the blood cells causing cherry angiomas. This recent technique is opted by many patients, because it is safe and causes very little harm to the surrounding skin cells.
Also, after the treatment, a patient is required to have a regular check up with a dermatologist, as sometimes cherry angiomas have a tendency to recur.