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Targetoid Hemosiderotic Hemangioma Treatment & Management

  • Author: J Andrew Carlson, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
Updated: Feb 19, 2016

Medical Care

Medical care is not necessary for targetoid hemosiderotic hemangioma (THH), a benign lesion.


Surgical Care

Simple excision is curative and provides for correct microscopic diagnosis. Since targetoid hemosiderotic hemangioma is benign, lesions commonly are removed for diagnostic or cosmetic reasons.



Consultation with a dermatologist can prove helpful in the clinical diagnosis; alternatively, lesions can be biopsied and submitted to a dermatopathology laboratory for microscopic diagnosis.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

J Andrew Carlson, MD Professor, Director of Dermatopathology, Department of Pathology, Division of Dermatopathology, Albany Medical College

J Andrew Carlson, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, International Society of Dermatopathology, American Society of Dermatopathology, International Academy of Pathology, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Herbert P Goodheart, MD Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Dermatology, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, New York

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Richard P Vinson, MD Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Dermatology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Paul L Foster School of Medicine; Consulting Staff, Mountain View Dermatology, PA

Richard P Vinson, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Texas Medical Association, Association of Military Dermatologists, Texas Dermatological Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Jeffrey J Miller, MD Associate Professor of Dermatology, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine; Staff Dermatologist, Pennsylvania State Milton S Hershey Medical Center

Jeffrey J Miller, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology, Society for Investigative Dermatology, Association of Professors of Dermatology, North American Hair Research Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Dirk M Elston, MD Professor and Chairman, Department of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine

Dirk M Elston, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Timothy McCalmont, MD Director, UCSF Dermatopathology Service, Professor of Clinical Pathology and Dermatology, Departments of Pathology and Dermatology, University of California at San Francisco; Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Cutaneous Pathology

Timothy McCalmont, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Medical Association, American Society of Dermatopathology, California Medical Association, College of American Pathologists, United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology

Disclosure: Received consulting fee from Apsara for independent contractor.

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Most targetoid hemosiderotic hemangiomas do not exhibit a targetoid appearance. An older waning lesion is presented showing a 2-toned papule with a dark brown center surrounded by a tan-brown rim. This clinical image can be confused with a melanocytic nevus or dermatofibroma. This 20-year-old patient described episodic changes that varied from a larger violaceous papule surrounded by an erythematous halo (target lesion) to the illustrated lesion.
Targetoid hemosiderotic hemangiomas are biphasic vascular tumors that show superficial telangiectases, often lined by hobnailed endothelial cells and deeper slitlike vascular spaces. Note the solitary angiokeratomalike change: the irregular epidermal hyperplasia overlying numerous, blood-filled, dilated vascular spaces in which the lumens diminish with descent into the subjacent dermis (hematoxylin and eosin, original magnification X40).
Siderophages and extravasated red blood cells are located at the periphery and between the deep dissecting vascular spaces of targetoid hemosiderotic hemangioma. Prussian blue stain for iron outlines the margins and highlights abundant hemosiderin deposition (Prussian blue, original magnification X100).
Targetoid hemosiderotic hemangioma mimicking nodular malignant melanoma. Note the dark black papule surrounded by a faint brown rim.
Histologically, targetoid hemosiderotic hemangioma (hobnail hemangioma) can mimic both malignant processes (low-grade angiosarcoma variants) and cutaneous manifestations of systemic disease (Kaposi sarcoma in AIDS). In this instance, the promontory sign of Kaposi sarcoma is replicated by targetoid hemosiderotic hemangioma. Lymphangiectases envelop an arteriole and are surrounded by dilated blood-filled telangiectases (hematoxylin and eosin, original magnification X200).
Close-up of a targetoid hemosiderotic hemangioma. Note the ectatic vessels (lagoons) in the central violaceous papule.
Solitary angiokeratoma with an erythematous halo (as compared to early targetoid hemosiderotic hemangioma). Histologically, this lesion was found to have deposition of hemosiderin, extravasated red blood cells, lymphangiectases, and focally small slitlike vascular spaces in the reticular dermis similar to that of targetoid hemosiderotic hemangioma.
Hobnailed or protuberant endothelial cells characteristic of the superficial vessels of targetoid hemosiderotic hemangiomas. Note the extravasated red blood cells next to the empty and ectatic vascular spaces (hematoxylin and eosin, original magnification X400).
Dissecting or pseudoangiosarcomatous vascular spaces of targetoid hemosiderotic hemangioma. Note the absence of marked cytologic atypia and the overlap of endothelial cells that is expected for angiosarcoma (hematoxylin and eosin, original magnification X200).
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