A spider angioma is a dilated, small capillary. This image displays a central blood vessel with many "legs" branching from the center typical of spider angioma. This spider angioma is seen on a background of sun damage on the cheek, with multiple small linear veins nearby. This flat spider angioma demonstrates why it is often called a "spider," with tiny blood vessels radiating out from a central larger blood vessel. As displayed in this image, an angioma can sometimes just look like a red bump, with subtle, tiny radiating blood vessels around it. This image displays a central large blood vessel with linear legs radiating outwards typical of spider angioma.
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Spider Angioma  Information for adults

Picture of Spider Angioma: A spider angioma is a dilated, small capillary. Divider line
A spider angioma is a dilated, small capillary.
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Overview
A spider angioma is a grouping of small blood vessels at the skin surface. The pattern sometimes resembles the threads of a spider's web.
Who's At Risk
Spider angiomas are common in both children and adults. They appear more frequently during pregnancy, in people on birth control pills, or in people with liver disease.
Signs and Symptoms
Spider angiomas are most often seen on the face or trunk, and they also may be seen on the hands, forearms, and ears. There may be one spider angioma or several. Each one is a small (1–10 mm) area of redness, which disappears with direct finger pressure but rapidly returns when the pressure is released. There is often a central red dot and small red lines radiating out from the center.
Self-Care Guidelines
Spider angiomas may disappear as children get older, and women who are pregnant or on birth control pills may see improvement after they are no longer affected by hormones, but they usually are long lasting in adults.

No self-care treatment is needed, unless desired for the cosmetic appearance.
When to Seek Medical Care
  • See your doctor if the area bleeds repeatedly or begins to grow in size or change in color.
  • If you suddenly develop many lesions, tell your physician.
  • If you have any sign or particular risk of liver disease (such as yellow skin color, swollen belly, or a history of heavy alcohol use), seek medical care.
Treatments Your Physician May Prescribe
  • If the lesion is cosmetically bothersome, it can usually be removed with burning (electrocautery) or laser treatments.
  • If you might have a liver problem, blood tests will be done.

References

Bolognia, Jean L., ed. Dermatology, pp.721, 1656, 2157. New York: Mosby, 2003.

Freedberg, Irwin M., ed. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 6th ed. pp.1003, 1013-1014, 2502. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003.
Last Updated: 22 Dec 2008