What are angiokeratomas?
Angiokeratomas are small dark red to purple raised spots. They may also have a rough scaly surface. They are composed of surface blood vessels (dilated capillaries). Often unnoticed, they may become crusty and bleed if accidentally scratched or damaged, or a harmless clot may form in the lesion (thrombosis), changing the colour to dark purple or black overnight.
There are several types of angiokeratomas:
- Sporadic angiokeratoma
- Angiokeratoma of Fordyce
- Angiokeratoma circumscriptum
- Fabry syndrome (angiokeratoma corporis diffusum)
What causes angiokeratomas and who gets them?
Apart from Fabry syndrome, which is caused by a genetic defect, the cause of other angiokeratomas is unknown.
|Type of angiokeratoma||Description|
|Angiokeratoma of Fordyce||
|Fabry syndrome (angiokeratoma corporis diffusum)||
What is the treatment for angiokeratomas?
Angiokeratomas are harmless surface vascular lesions that can usually be left alone. As the black spots sometimes resemble melanoma, a skin biopsy may be performed to rule out malignancy and allay any fears.
- OMIM – Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (search term Angiokeratomas)
- Autosomal recessive congenital ichthyosis – GeneTests GeneReviews
On DermNet NZ:
- Vascular skin problems
- Capillary vascular malformation
- Genital skin problems
- Fordyce spots – sebaceous hyperplasia of the lips