Cherry angiomas are benign tumors made of vascular tissue that occur on the human skin. They are typically cherry-red to purple (hence the name) and predominantly affect people after the age of 40. These vascular lesions are made of clusters of dilated capillaries. The capillaries are actually responsible for the distinctive color of cherry angiomas. Initially, cherry angiomas are about the size of a pinhead and never protrude above the level of the skin. However, they may grow and reach up to 1/4 inch in diameter or even more. Larger cherry angiomas are spongy and they may be dome or mushroom shaped.
These benign lesions usually occur on the torso but they can be also found on the face, scull, and neck, upper and lower extremities. They almost never develop on the hands and feet. Cherry angiomas are painless and may only be an aesthetic problem. This is why many people choose to remove them.
What people must know about cherry angiomas is that they bleed easily and profusely once they are injured. This can be explained by the fact they are made of vascular tissue. This is why one should never try to puncture them or even try to remove them.
Causes of Cherry Angiomas
Scientists have not identified the exact cause of cherry angiomas. In some cases this benign lesion may occur due to presence of some internal malignancy. Some scientists believe that cherry angiomas develop due to damage of the skin by sun and there is also a thesis that they develop as a consequence of genetic malfunctioning.
Still, no matter what the cause is once cherry angiomas occur they do not withdraw spontaneously. Even though they are benign if they are large enough and if they are injured, they cause profuse bleeding. This is why large cherry angiomas can be only surgically removed.
Treatment for Cherry Angiomas
The diagnosis of cherry angioma is set rather easily by a well experienced doctor. These tumors cannot be treated with medications and the only option is surgical removal.
There are several surgical techniques for removal of these skin lesions. Electro surgery is a minor surgical procedure in which a surgeon uses a special electrical needle-like instrument called electrocautery and removes the skin growth. Furthermore, cherry angiomas may be removed with cryotherapy by freeing the affected area with the assistance of liquid nitrogen. And finally, these skin lesions may be removed with laser. All these procedures are routinely performed under local anesthesia. There is no harm to the surrounding skin which means that the surgeon only removes the skin growth.