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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

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Spider angiomas are very common. They are especially common during pregnancy and in patients with liver disease. They occur in both children and adults.

Symptoms

  • Blood vessel sore (lesion)
    • May have a red dot in the center
    • Has reddish extensions that reach out from the center
    • Disappears with pressure and reappears when pressure is released
  • Most often seen on the face and neck

Signs and tests

No testing is usually necessary, but a skin biopsy may be needed to confirm the diagnosis in some cases. Blood tests may be done if a liver problem is suspected.

Treatment

Treatment is generally not necessary. In some cases, electrocauterization or laser treatment may be used.

Expectations (prognosis)

Spider angiomas often disappear in children but tend to persist in adults.

Calling your health care provider

A spider angioma can usually be examined during a routine visit with your health care provider. It is important to mention to your doctor if you develop a new spider angioma, to rule out related medical conditions.

References

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


Review Date: 10/8/2010
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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