What is Cherry Angioma?
Cherry angiomas are cherry-red skin papules (elevations) containing an abnormal proliferation of blood vessels. Cherry angiomas are the most common kind of angiomas, but are both painless and harmless. They are also known as Campbell De Morgan spots after the nineteenth century British surgeon who first described them. These cherry-red papules are also called senile angiomas because they often occur at old age. They are benign and do not result in malignancies. They may occur on almost all areas of the body, but the most common sites are the face and torso.
What causes cherry angioma?
Cherry angiomas usually develop during middle age, but can occur in younger people. The main cause is not well-understood, possibly due to lack of interest as it rarely indicates malignancy. A recent study indicates that a defect in RNA causes the blood vessels and capillaries to proliferate. Specifically, a reduction in microRNA 424 levels is seen in patients with cherry angiomas. This causes increased protein expression and subsequently endothelial proliferation, giving rise to the dilation of the capillaries in the skin. Certain risk factors include exposure to chemicals such as butoxyethanol, mustard gas, bromide and cyclosporins. Stress has also played a role in the formation of cherry angiomas as emotional, physical and psychological stress leads to faster aging and development of cherry angiomas increases with age. Cherry angiomas occur in all races and in both sexes.
What are the symptoms and indications of cherry angioma?
Cherry angiomas are made up of groups of dilated capillaries that are evident on the skin. Signs and symptoms include:
- Cherry-red to purple bumps that are spongy, smooth and mushroom shaped present in the torso, hands, arms, legs, face, scalp or neck
- Young angiomas are the size of a pinhead, but can grow to about .25 inches in diameter
- Bleeding occurs when injured. Cherry angiomas on the scalp usually bleed due to accidental contact when brushing or combing the hair.
How to diagnose cherry angioma?
Cherry angioma is usually diagnosed by studying the characteristics of the bump through physical examination. Further tests are not required, but a biopsy may be done to confirm the diagnosis and to help in the removal of the angioma.
Cherry angioma treatment
Cherry angiomas do not require removal as they are not malignant and quite harmless. Treatment is only considered when they cause frequent hemorrhage or irritation though people with cherry angiomas may prefer removal for aesthetic purposes. Minor surgery is needed for removal but medical treatment is not indicated because they are benign. Patients need to ask their doctors several questions before undergoing treatment to explore the benefits and risks as well as alternatives. Patients should ask:
- What are the methods of removal available?
- Is scar formation possible after treatment?
- What are the risks of undergoing angioma removal?
- Are there any alternatives for surgery?
- Is cherry angioma preventable?
- Does exposure to ultraviolet rays affect the angioma?
- Will angiomas lead to carcinomas or cancer?
Adequate knowledge regarding the angioma may help in decision making and planning for interventions.
Electrosurgery and Cautery
Electrosurgery is done by dissecting the angioma using electrical current. Cautery uses electricity to heat a special electrical instrument likened to a needle. Scarring is minimal when expert operators perform the procedure. Bleeding is also prevented because of rapid closing of bleeders. Local anesthetic is applied prior to the procedure.
Pulsed dye Laser - Cherry angioma laser removal involves the use of an organic dye mixed with a solvent as the lasing medium. Absorption of the laser energy is possible in the hemoglobin, but this does not cause significant effects.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) - IPL is a more advanced method of laser surgery involving a more concentrated beam of light.
This involves the delicate removal or slicing of the angioma using a blade at a horizontal angle. Specimen is subjected to biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Bleeding is prevented through cautery of blood vessels.
Cryotherapy or cryosurgery involves the removal of the cherry angioma through freezing by the use of extremely cold substances such as liquid nitrogen (nitrous oxide), carbon dioxide, argon, and dimethyl ether. It also involves destruction, irritation and coagulation. It is a minimally invasive surgery and may result in mild pain that can be reduced by the use of analgesics.
Performing curettage is not as common as the more conservative therapies discussed above. Curettage is the scraping of the angioma using a curette (an instrument used for scraping). Never remove angiomas on your own to prevent profuse bleeding, scarring and infection. Doctors are trained to remove cherry angiomas for best results.
Natural Remedies For Cherry Angioma
Natural remedies for cherry angiomas are favored because they are less invasive and less expensive. However, effects may not be seen immediately. Natural remedies are more suited for prevention of cherry angioma formation.
Include more fruits and vegetables to improve the texture and elasticity of the skin. Better skin means lesser possibility of the development of cherry angiomas. Avoid processed foods such as canned and junk foods. Include Vitamin A and Vitamin D supplements to promote young and healthy skin.
Apply cream made by pounding sandalwood and basil leaves onto the cherry angioma to diminish its appearance. Witch hazel also reduces bacterial growth to prevent angioma formation.
Apply apple cider vinegar to the angioma to dry up the bump. Some individuals who have tried this claim the angioma fell off after two weeks of application.
Drink plenty of fluids
Increase water intake to between 1.5 and 2 litres per day. Consume more fluids in the form of juices, smoothies, and shakes. Good hydration enhances the moisture and elasticity of skin, preventing angioma by preventing skin breakdown.
Stress is a major risk factor for cherry angioma formation. Learn to do stress reduction activities such as focused breathing, yoga, guided imagery and listening to music.
Cherry angioma prognosis
These cherry-red bumps are most often benign and harmless. They increase in size and number with age. A sudden development of several angiomas may signal a developing internal malignancy.
Cherry angioma complications
Possible complications of angioma include:
- Bleeding when injured, that easily stops upon applying pressure.
- Psychological distress. If the appearance causes distress, the patient may opt for removal of the angioma for aesthetic purposes.
Cherry Angioma Pictures
Cherry angioma on the face
The most common site of blood vessel proliferation is in the face. The vascular lesions are characterized as cherry red to purple in color and flat topped. They usually grow as the individual increases in age and may increase to a few centimeters in size. Some angiomas are close to each other and form a polypoid angioma or a multiple adjoining angioma. These may seem larger and more apparent. Cherry angiomas on the face are sensitive and may cause bleeding when the area is injured. Cherry angiomas on the face also lead to body image disturbance. Although the vascular lesions are harmless, occurrence on the face may result in loss of self-esteem. Removal of the angioma in these cases is indicated.