Angioma. Red birthmark on the skin surface.

Cherry angiomas, also known as Campbell de Morgan spots, are small red or purple growths that can appear anywhere on the skin. They are not cancerous and usually painless though they may sometimes itch or bleed. Here, we will explore what causes cherry angiomas, how to recognize them, and potential treatments for them. 

History and Definition

Cherry angiomas, also known as senile angiomas, are small, red, raised growths that typically form on the skin. They are called “cherry angiomas” because of their bright red color, which is due to the presence of blood vessels in the growth.

Cherry angiomas were first described in 1872 by Campbell de Morgan, a British physician, who noted their prevalence and distinctive appearance. Since then, cherry angiomas have become the most common form of acquired vascular proliferation of the skin.


The following are the symptoms of cherry angiomas:

  • Bright red color: Cherry angiomas are characterized by their bright red color, which is due to the presence of increased blood vessels in the area.


  • Round or oval shape: They are typically round or oval in shape and can range in size from a pinhead to several millimeters in diameter.


  • Smooth surface: The surface of a cherry angioma is usually smooth, and the bump is often raised slightly above the skin’s surface.


  • Painless: Cherry angiomas are typically painless, although some people may experience mild discomfort or itching.


  • Location: They can appear anywhere on the body, but are most commonly found on the trunk, arms, and legs.

It is important to note that cherry angiomas are benign (non-cancerous) and do not usually cause any harm. However, if you have any concerns about a cherry angioma or any other skin lesion, it is recommended that you consult a dermatologist or plastic surgeon for a proper evaluation and diagnosis.


The exact cause of cherry angiomas is not known, but they are thought to be related to aging and genetics. Some of the possible causes of cherry angiomas include:

  • Aging: As people age, their skin cells change, and these changes can lead to the development of cherry angiomas.


  • Genetics: There is a genetic component to cherry angiomas, and they tend to run in families.


  • Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy, can cause cherry angiomas to form.


  • Exposure to toxins: Exposure to certain toxins, such as pesticides or industrial chemicals, may increase the risk of developing cherry angiomas.


  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as liver disease or heart disease, have been associated with the development of cherry angiomas.


The diagnosis of cherry angiomas is usually made based on a visual examination of the affected area. Cherry angiomas are small, raised, and red or purple bumps that are commonly found on the trunk, arms, and legs.

In most cases, the diagnosis of cherry angiomas is straightforward and can be made based on the characteristic appearance of the bumps. However, in some cases, a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon may perform a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and to rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms.

During a biopsy, a small sample of the affected tissue is removed and examined under a microscope to determine the exact type of growth. In addition to a visual examination and biopsy, the doctor may ask about your medical history, including any underlying health conditions that may contribute to the development of cherry angiomas.


Treatment for cherry angiomas typically involves removing the affected lesion. There are both non-surgical and surgical options for removing cherry angiomas.


  • Electrodessication and curettage (ED&C): In this procedure, an electric current is used to destroy the affected tissue, which is then scraped away with a curette.


  • Cryotherapy: This procedure involves freezing the affected tissue using liquid nitrogen.


  • Surgical excision: This involves surgically removing the affected tissue with a scalpel or scissors.


  • Laser therapy: This involves using a laser to destroy the affected tissue.

Regardless of the treatment option chosen, local anesthesia is typically used to numb the affected area and minimize discomfort during the procedure.

After the treatment, the affected area may be sore and swollen for a few days. The doctor may prescribe pain medication to help manage any discomfort. The area may also be covered with a bandage to protect it from injury.

It is important to keep the affected area clean and dry and to follow any aftercare instructions provided by the doctor to minimize the risk of infection and promote healing. In some cases, there may be some scarring after the procedure, but this is typically minimal and may be hidden by the surrounding skin.

Risk Factors

The following are some of the risk factors associated with cherry angiomas:

  • Age: Cherry angiomas are more common as people get older, and the risk of developing them increases with age.


  • Family history: There may be a genetic predisposition to developing cherry angiomas, and they can run in families.


  • Exposure to toxic substances: Exposure to certain chemicals or substances, such as pesticides or solvents, can increase the risk of developing cherry angiomas.


  • Certain medical conditions: People with liver disease, type 2 diabetes, or other underlying health conditions may be more prone to developing cherry angiomas.


  • Pregnancy: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase the risk of developing cherry angiomas.


  • Genetics: Certain genetic mutations have been linked to an increased risk of developing cherry angiomas.

It’s important to keep in mind that having one or more of these risk factors does not guarantee that a person will develop cherry angiomas, and conversely, some people with cherry angiomas may not have any of these risk factors.


Cherry angiomas are small, benign (noncancerous) skin growths that are common in adults. While they are generally not a cause for concern, they can sometimes cause complications. Some of the most common complications of cherry angiomas include:

  • Bleeding: Cherry angiomas can bleed easily, especially if they are located in an area that is frequently bumped or rubbed. This can be a nuisance and can also lead to infection.


  • Infection: Cherry angiomas can become infected, especially if they are frequently scratched or traumatized. This can cause redness, swelling, and pain, and may require antibiotics or other treatments.


  • Recurrence: Cherry angiomas can recur after they have been removed, especially if the underlying cause has not been addressed.


  • Cosmetic concerns: Cherry angiomas can be unsightly and can cause cosmetic concerns, especially if they are located in visible areas of the body.


  • Pain: Cherry angiomas can be painful, especially if they are located in an area that is frequently used or if they are large and put pressure on nearby structures.

It’s important to note that the severity and likelihood of these complications can vary greatly depending on the location, size, and underlying cause of the cherry angioma, as well as the patient’s overall health and the effectiveness of their treatment. If you have a cherry angioma, it’s important to seek prompt medical attention to minimize the risk of complications and ensure proper treatment.

When to See a Doctor

Cherry angiomas are usually harmless and do not cause any symptoms, but some people may choose to have them removed for cosmetic reasons. If you have cherry angiomas, it is generally not necessary to see a doctor unless you have any of the following concerns:

  • Rapid growth: If a cherry angioma grows rapidly in size or appears suddenly, it is important to have it evaluated by a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.


  • Changes in appearance: If a cherry angioma changes in appearance, such as becoming raised, tender, or dark in color, it is important to have it evaluated by a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.


  • Multiple angiomas: If you have multiple cherry angiomas, it may indicate an underlying medical condition, such as liver disease, that requires medical evaluation.


  • Family history: If you have a family history of certain medical conditions, such as von Hippel-Lindau disease, that are associated with cherry angiomas, it is important to have regular medical evaluations.

In general, a dermatologist, skin specialist, or plastic surgeon is best equipped to diagnose and treat cherry angiomas. They can evaluate your skin, rule out any underlying medical conditions, and recommend appropriate treatments if necessary.

Step-by-Step Guide to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment

Here is a step-by-step guide to the treatment of cherry angiomas:


During your first appointment, your doctor or plastic surgeon will thoroughly evaluate your skin and medical history. They will also examine the cherry angiomas to determine their size, number, and location.

Treatment Options

Based on the examination, your doctor or esthetician will discuss the various treatment options available for cherry angioma removal. These may include laser therapy, electrocautery, cryotherapy, or surgical excision.

Your doctor or esthetician will help you choose the best treatment option based on factors such as the size and location of the cherry angiomas, your age, skin type, medical history, and personal preferences.


If you have decided to go ahead with a procedure, your doctor or esthetician will give you pre-operative instructions, including information on avoiding certain activities, avoiding sun exposure, and avoiding certain skincare products.


The procedure for cherry angioma removal will vary based on the treatment option selected. For example, laser therapy uses high-energy light to destroy the lesion, while electrocautery uses an electric current to burn it off. Cryotherapy involves freezing the lesion with liquid nitrogen, and surgical excision involves cutting out the lesion.

Post-Operative Care

After the procedure, your doctor or esthetician will provide you with post-operative instructions, including information on wound care, avoiding sun exposure, and avoiding certain activities that could disrupt the healing process.

You will typically need to schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor or esthetician to assess the results of the treatment and to determine if any further treatment is necessary.

The exact process may vary depending on the individual case and the doctor’s or plastic surgeon’s specific recommendations. It’s important to follow their instructions and to attend all scheduled appointments to ensure the best possible outcome.


In conclusion, cherry angiomas can be alarming at first sight. However, these harmless skin lesions are generally nothing to worry about and often do not require treatment. Nevertheless, if you are worried about the appearance or size of a cherry angioma, it is best to consult with your doctor who can provide advice on the right course of action for you. 

With a proper diagnosis and understanding of any treatments available, you can have peace of mind knowing that there is help available should you find yourself living with cherry angiomas.


If you’re looking for an experienced plastic surgeon in Toronto, Dr. Colin Hong is one of the best! With over 35 years of experience, he also provides competitive pricing on Cosmetic, Plastic, and Reconstructive surgeries in Toronto, North York, and Markham. 

Call us at (416) 222-6986 or send an email to to book a consultation today. To help us reach you promptly, please provide your full name, email address, and phone number. Additionally, be sure to get a referral from your family doctor before setting up an appointment with Dr. Colin Hong for cherry angioma removal services.

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