A spider angioma is a collection of tiny dilated blood vessels under the skin. 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 looks like a red dot on the skin, with radiating lines of tiny blood vessels that resemble a spider's legs.
A spider angioma can occur in a healthy person with no apparent cause, and may occasionally be seen on a child's face. However, spider angiomas are more likely to occur in: a pregnant womana woman taking hormonal therapy, specifically estrogen hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptivesa person with chronic liver disease, such as cirrhosis
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 persons without these risk factors, prevention is not possible because the cause of the spider angioma is unknown.
The healthcare professional can diagnose a spider angioma by its characteristic appearance.
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: electrocautery, a procedure in which an electrical current is applied with a needle to seal off the blood vesselslaser surgery, which uses a directed laser beam to seal off the vessels
Removal of a spider angioma may cause bruising, tenderness, focal changes in skin pigment, or tiny scars.
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.