A spider angioma is a collection of tiny dilated blood vessels. The vessels usually radiate out from a central point and resemble the legs of a spider.
A spider angioma is formed when a group of blood vessels dilates in a characteristic "spider leg" pattern. A spider angioma can be seen in a healthy person without any apparent cause, but is more common in individuals with liver disease or altered hormone levels.
A spider angioma can occur in a healthy person with no apparent cause, and may occasionally be seen on a child's face. However, a spider angioma is more likely to occur in:
A spider angioma looks like a red dot on the skin, with radiating lines of tiny blood vessels that resemble a spider's legs.
The healthcare provider can diagnose a spider angioma by its characteristic appearance.
Liver disease such as cirrhosis may sometimes be avoided if the person stops drinking alcohol. Spider angioma may be a side effect of estrogen therapy, so could be avoided if the woman does not take estrogen. In normal persons without these risk factors, the cause of the spider angioma is unknown and prevention is not possible.
There are no long-term effects of a spider angioma.
Spider angiomas are not contagious, and pose no risk to others.
Since spider angiomas are harmless, treatment is usually done only for cosmetic purposes. The angioma may be removed by:
Removal of a spider angioma may cause bruising or tenderness.
Spider angiomas may reappear, but repeat treatment is usually successful.
Spider angiomas of childhood and pregnancy will often go away without treatment. No specific monitoring of angiomas is needed.
Author:Lynn West, MD
Editor:Smith, Mary Ellen, BS
Reviewer:Adam Brochert, MD