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Spider angioma

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

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. They get their name from an appearance similar to a red spider.

They appear most often on the face, neck, upper part of the trunk, arms, and fingers.

Symptoms

The main symptom is a blood vessel spot 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

In rare case, bleeding occur in spider angioma.

Exams and Tests

The health care provider will examine the spider angioma on your skin. You may be asked if you have any other symptoms.

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 in children may disappear after puberty, and often disappear after a woman gives birth. Untreated, spider angiomas tend to last in adults.

Treatment is often successful.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Let your provider know if you have a new spider angioma so that other related medical conditions can be ruled out.

Alternative Names

Nevus araneus; Spider telangiectasia; Vascular spider; Spider nevus; Arterial spiders

References

Habif TP. Vascular tumors and malformations. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 23.

Martin KL. Vascular disorders. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 650.

Review Date 10/24/2016

Updated by: David L. Swanson, MD, Vice Chair of Medical Dermatology, Associate Professor of Dermatology, Mayo Medical School, Scottsdale, AZ. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.