Synonyms: cherry haemangiomas, senile angiomas
These are common, benign skin lesions of middle to older age, formed by proliferating, dilated capillaries and postcapillary venules. They are named after an English surgeon, Campbell de Morgan (1811-76).
- Add notes to any clinical page and create a reflective diary
- Automatically track and log every page you have viewed
- Print and export a summary to use in your appraisal
Their cause remains unknown:
- Chemical exposure (mustard gas, 2-butoxyethanol) causes multiple lesions to develop.
- Pregnancy and prolactinomas are associated with the development of lesions, implicating hormonal mediators.
- These are the most common cutaneous vascular proliferation. Few reports have been published recently but there is evidence showing 75% of those over 75 years old may have them.
- They increase in frequency and size with age.
- The most common age of onset is in the third and fourth decades of life.
- They are seen across all races and sexes.
- 1-3 mm diameter macules which may become larger papules over time.
- Typical bright cherry red colour but can appear violaceous.
- They are non-blanching.
- They usually occur on the trunk and extremities.
- They can be found at any skin site except the mucous membranes. The scalp has been reported.
- Lesions may be widespread, especially in the elderly.
- They are usually asymptomatic.
- Malignant melanoma
- Spider naevi
- Pyogenic granuloma
- Kaposi's sarcoma
- Insect bite
- Congenital haemangioma
Primary care management
- Reassure - these lesions usually require no treatment.
- If removal is desired, treatment options include pulsed dye laser, electrocautery and excision.
When to refer
- When there is diagnostic uncertainty.
- When assistance with removal is required.
- Cryotherapy and carbon dioxide laser therapy are both options.
- Campbell de Morgan spots are benign lesions.
- Problems only arise when lesions are frequently traumatised, continue to enlarge or are of cosmetic concern to a patient.
- There is a rare paraneoplastic association of the sudden onset of multiple new lesions with internal malignancy.
Further reading & references
- Henry GI et al, Benign Skin Lesions, Medscape, Mar 2011
- Senile Angioma, DermIS (Dermatology Information System)
- Luba MC, Bangs SA, Mohler AM, et al; Common benign skin tumors. Am Fam Physician. 2003 Feb 15;67(4):729-38.
- Kim JH, Park HY, Ahn SK; Cherry Angiomas on the Scalp. Case Rep Dermatol. 2009 Nov 11;1(1):82-86.
- Brown CW, Cherry Hemangioma, Medscape, Jun 2010
|Original Author: Dr Chloe Borton||Current Version: Dr Hayley Willacy||Peer Reviewer: Dr Hannah Gronow|
|Last Checked: 19/01/2012||Document ID: 4045 Version: 22||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.