Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Angiomas are benign tumors that are made up of small blood vessels. They usually appear at or near the surface of the skin. Angiomas may appear anywhere on the body, and aren't considered dangerous. When they are removed, it is generally for cosmetic reasons.
The most common kind of angioma (in fact, one of the most commonly occurring of all skin lesions) is called a "cherry angioma." These are made up of clusters of tiny capillaries on the surface of the skin, and range in color from bright red to purple. When they first develop, they may only be a few millimeters across, but sometimes grow to a centimeter or more in diameter. As they grow larger, they tend to expand in thickness, also, and may take on the raised and rounded shape of a dome. Because the blood vessels comprising the angioma are so close to the skin's surface, cherry angiomas may bleed profusely if they are injured. For this reason, removal of a cherry angioma should take place under a doctor's care. Physicians may use cryosurgery, electrosurgery , or laser treatment to remove cherry angiomas.
Spider angiomas, also known as "nevus araneus," are found slightly below the skin's surface. They often contain a central red spot, and reddish extensions that radiate outward like a spider's web. They are often associated with high estrogen levels, so they are commonly found on pregnant women. People with impaired liver function may also exhibit spider angiomas, possibly because the liver is not processing excess estrogen properly. Doctors may view the appearance of several spider angiomas as a sign that liver health should be examined. As with cherry angiomas, no treatment is medically necessary. Electrosurgery and laser treatments are effective on this type of angioma.
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