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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.


Review Date: 11/14/2014
Reviewed By: Richard J. Moskowitz, MD, dermatologist in private practice, Mineola, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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