Dermatopathology Unknown:
A 24 year old woman with an abdominal plaque

The Answer

by Ronald J. Barr, M.D.

Dermatology Online Journal, December 1995
Volume 1, Number 2

Diagnosis: Microvenular hemangioma


This is an unusual, distinctive, benign vascular neoplasm. We have described 10 cases (see below). The lesion favors the forearm of young men. They usually present as red-purple papules measuring up to 1cm. To the best of our knowledge, the lesions grow slowly and appear to be self-limited, and benign. The main differential diagnostic consideration is Kaposi's sarcoma. Microvenular hemangioma, however, has collapsed branching lumina, rather than irregular anastomosing vascular spaces of patch stage Kaposi's, or the irregular dissection of collagen bundles by vessels in lymphangioma-like Kaposi's. Furthermore, various features of Kaposi's sarcoma such as eosinophilic globules, plasma cells, and fascicles of spindle cells are not present.


  1. Hunt SJ, Santa Cruz DJ, Barr RJ: Microvenular hemangioma. J Cutan Pathol 18:235-240, 1991.
  2. Santa Cruz DJ, Aronberg J: Targetoid hemosiderotic hemangioma. J Am Acad Dermatol 19:550-558, 1988.
  3. Aloi F, Tomasini C, Pippione M: Microvenular hemangioma. Am J Dermatopathol 15:534-538, 1993.

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Dermatology Online Journal
University of California Davis