Last reviewed by Dr. Raj MD on January 12th, 2022.
What is Spider Angioma?
This medical condition is an abnormal collection of blood vessels that appear near the surface of your skin and are very common. They can appear in people of all ages but most often are seen in people who have liver disease, women who are pregnant or on hormonal birth control pills.
During their lifetime, most children will have at least one spider angioma. Although anyone can get a spider angioma, they are more prominent in people who are fair-skinned. They are called spider angioma because their pattern resembles a spider web’s threads or the body of a spider with legs. It is also referred to as spider nervus.
Symptoms of Spider Angioma
The main symptom of spider angioma is a blood vessel lesion or sore that may have these characteristics.
- They could have a red dot in the center of the spider angioma that is the size of a pinhead.
- From the center there could be reddish extensions that reach out.
- When pressed on it disappears and when you release the pressure it will come back.
- The spider angioma is most often seen on your neck and face but can also be found on your ears, hands, and forearms, especially in children.
- There can be one or several of them.
- They are small and range from one to ten millimeters.
For spider angioma there are no prominent symptoms but the characteristics that it has will depend on the intensity and location of the spider angioma.
Spider Angioma Causes
The exact cause is not known but there are some factors that seem to cause a person to have spider angioma such as:
- A connection between the spider angioma and estrogen levels in females.
- Having liver disease such as cirrhosis of the liver.
- Being pregnant.
- Being on hormonal birth control pills.
- Prolonged exposure to sunlight.
- Using steroid medications for a long period of time.
- Having a hepatitis infection.
- It could be passed on by the parents.
- Allergic reactions.
- Injury or trauma to the cheeks and nose area.
- Having thyroid disease or thyroid toxicity.
- Dilatation in the blood vessels.
In children with spider angioma it usually begins from the age of two and will reach its maximum when the child reaches puberty. It appears that more female children have spider angioma than male children.
In order for the dermatologist or physician to accurately diagnosis spider angioma they may need to do a skin biopsy. If they suspect that there is a liver problem they may need to do a blood test.
Spider Angioma Treatment
In most cases of spider angioma a person will not need treatment. In children they will often just disappear but in adults they tend to last for a while. You should seek treatment if:
- The area or red lesion that surrounds the spider angioma breaks open and begins to bleed regularly you should see your dermatologist or physician because this is unusual.
- You should also have them checked out if you have five or more of these lesions because this many could indicate that you may have a liver problem.
- Being checked out when you have a large number of them will also help to rule out any physical problems that could be causing spider angioma.
- You notice that the spider angioma starts to change in color or grow larger.
- If you are at risk for liver disease.
Spider angioma is unsightly so they have them removed by using one of these methods:
- Electro cauterization in order to destroy the blood vessels, which is usually done in adults. A probe is used to burn the blood vessels.
- Laser procedures to remove the spider angioma by burning it. This is one of the preferred treatments as it is simple to do and does not have many side effects.
- Using liquid nitrogen spray which will freeze them, destroying the blood vessels that formed the spider angioma.
If you do not want to use any of these removal treatments you can just wait because most spider angioma will resolve on their own, usually within twelve months after they first appear. If the cause is pregnancy or hormonal birth control pills they may disappear sooner, depending on when the pregnancy ends or hormonal birth control pills are stopped.
If the spider angioma is bleeding the dermatologist or physician may correct this problem by using the electro dissection method. This is done by using a sharp electric needle to cut the skin which will stop the blood vessels that are causing your spider angioma but this method will leave a scar the affected area. After any type of treatment spider angioma can reoccur.
Spider Angioma Pictures
Pictures collection of the condition Spider Angioma…