Overview of Spider Angioma

Spider angioma is so named because of its appearance: a central, red, elevated area with surrounding broken blood vessels radiating outward like a spider's legs. Many children and adults have a spider angioma.

Causes of Spider Angioma

Spider angiomas are associated with childhood, pregnancy, liver disease, birth control pills, and estrogen treatment. They may develop for unknown reasons as well.

Signs and Symptoms of Spider Angioma

Spider angiomas classically appear as small, centrally raised bumps (papules) caused by a dilated arteriole (small artery). A network of dilated capillaries (tiny blood vessels) radiate from the arteriole. Pressing on the lesion causes the redness to disappear briefly, and there is a rapid return of redness once the pressure is lifted.

Spider Angioma Diagnosis

Diagnosis of spider angioma is based on its appearance.

Treatment for Spider Angioma

It is not necessary to treat a spider angioma. If desired, it can be treated with electrocautery (a specialized instrument that cauterizes the vessel), laser, or injection of a solution that seals the vessel. It is common for a spider angioma to reappear after therapy. In that case, treatment can be repeated.

Prevention of Spider Angioma

No preventive measures are known.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 31 Aug 2000

Last Modified: 02 Sep 2015