5 Things You Need To Know About Cherry Hemangiomas

Cherry hemangiomas, also called cherry angiomas or senile angiomas, are bright red lesions that form on the skin. Here are five things you need to know about them.  

What do cherry hemangiomas look like?

Cherry hemangiomas are either round or oval and are bright red. They are usually between one and five millimeters in diameter. These lesions tend to be dome shaped and tend to be found on either the trunk or the upper extremities. You may also develop them in other locations like on your face or hands, but this is less common.

What causes them?

Researchers aren't quite sure what causes cherry hemangiomas, but they have many theories. These lesions tend to be more common among older people, so the aging process may somehow be involved. Cherry hemangiomas have also been linked to pregnancy, which suggests that there may be a hormonal cause. Factors like climate and chemical exposure have also been suggested as possible causes.

Are cherry hemangiomas serious?

These lesions are benign tumors, which means that they're not cancerous. They are made of an overgrowth of blood vessels and are just a cosmetic problem. However, serious problems like skin cancer can look similar to cherry hemangiomas, so your dermatologist may want to take a biopsy of the tissue, just to be safe.

How are cherry hemangiomas treated?

Treatment for cherry hemangiomas isn't generally recommended as they are not dangerous. However, surgical removal is possible if the lesions are rubbing against your clothes and causing discomfort, bleeding, or are located on parts of your skin, like your face, that make them a major cosmetic problem.

These lesions can be removed in many ways. The first method is shave excision, a simple procedure during which your dermatologist will carefully remove the lesion with a scalpel. Another option is cryotherapy. During this treatment, your dermatologist will use extreme cold to destroy the lesion. Laser treatment is another possible treatment. Your dermatologist can talk to you about the risks and benefits of each treatment type and help you decide how you should proceed.

Are they common?

There haven't been many studies done on the subject, so the exact prevalence of these lesions isn't known. One study reported a prevalence rate of 5% among teenagers and 75% among people 75 years or older.

If you notice new, red lesions on your skin, make an appointment with a local dermatologist (such as J Kent Bartruff MD PA) to have them evaluated. They may be cherry hemangiomas, a harmless but treatable condition.