DermNet provides Google Translate, a free machine translation service. Note that this may not provide an exact translation in all languages


Vascular proliferations and abnormalities of blood vessels

Author: A/Prof Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, February 2016. 



The terminology of vascular conditions can be confusing, with several lesions being incorrectly named or classified. Vascular skin lesions include:

A paediatric dermatologist, paediatrician, vascular specialist or surgeon should assess significant infantile capillary malformations or infantile haemangiomas, especially when large, symptomatic (especially when ulcerated), located on the head and neck or close to eye, nose or mouth.

Vascular naevus

Vascular naevi or anomalies are present at birth or appear in early childhood. They are classified according to the size and type of vessel. They may remain stable or become more prominent with maturity. There are various associated syndromes.

Vascular naevi


An angioma or haemangioma is a benign tumour formed by the dilation of blood vessels or the formation of new ones by the proliferation of endothelial cells.

  • Infantile haemangioma (superficial, deep, or mixed): proliferates in the first few weeks of life, followed by involution later in childhood. These are sometimes syndromic, as in PHACE, LUMBAR and PELVIS syndromes.
  • Glomeruloid haemangioma is an eruptive form of haemangioma typically diagnosed in POEMS syndrome
  • Congenital haemangioma is at full size at birth and may rapidly involute (RICH) or persist (NICH)
  • Kaposiform haemangioendothelioma is a rare aggressive haemangioma that results in platelet trapping — the Kasabach-Merritt phenomenon.
  • Tufted angioma: rare childhood tumour with characteristic histology.
  • Cherry angioma: adult onset, common degenerative lesions, usually multiple
  • Angiokeratoma: acquired scaly angiomas, usually on vulva or scrotum, or in association with Fabry disease
  • Glomus tumour: tender papule on nail bed or palm arising in young to middle-aged adult
  • Pyogenic granuloma occurs in children and young adults on skin and mucosa, most often lower lips, fingers and toes. It may develop in response to a minor injury, in pregnancy, or when taking certain medications. It grows rapidly and may become pedunculated or polypoid and surrounded by a collarette of normal skin. It bleeds and crusts.

Bacillary angiomatosis is a rare opportunistic bacterial infection due to Bartonella henselae.



Prominent cutaneous blood vessels can be physiological or pathological.

There are some named conditions in which telangiectasia is (or telangiectases are) characteristic.


Malignant vascular tumours

  • Kaposi sarcoma: four types are recognised due to Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8). Multiple purple macules, papules and plaque on the skin and mucous membranes develop.
  • Angiosarcoma: idiopathic or secondary to chronic lymphoedema or radiation. Often aggressive, it mostly presents in elderly people with spreading purple patches and plaques that may bleed and ulcerate.
  • Intravascular B-cell lymphoma presents with rapid-onset irregular telangiectases.

Malignant vascular tumours



Related information

Sign up to the newsletter