Spider angioma

  • Definition
    • Spider angioma is an abnormal collection of blood vessels near the surface of the skin.

  • Alternative Names
    • Nevus araneus; Spider veins

  • Causes
    • Spider angiomas are very common. They often occur in pregnant women and in people with liver disease. They can appear in both children and adults.

  • Symptoms
    • The main symptom is a blood vessel sore (lesion) that:

      • May have a red dot in the center
      • Has reddish extensions that reach out from the center
      • Disappears when pressed on and comes back when pressure is released
      • Is seen most often on the face and neck
  • Exams and Tests
    • Most of the time you do not need tests to diagnose the condition. But sometimes a skin biopsy may be needed to confirm the diagnosis. Blood tests may be done if a liver problem is suspected.

  • Treatment
    • Most of the time you do not need treatment, but burning (electrocautery) or laser treatment is sometimes done.

  • Outlook (Prognosis)
    • Spider angiomas often disappear in children. They tend to last in adults.

  • When to Contact a Medical Professional
    • Let your health care provider know if you have a new spider angioma so that other related medical conditions can be ruled out.

  • References
    • Habif TP. Vascular tumors and malformations. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby; 2009:chap 23.

      Kelly R, Baker C. Other vascular disorders. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, et al, eds. Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2012:chap 106.