What is a spider angioma?
Spider angioma is a benign vascular lesion, is an enlarged blood vessel in the skin (resembling the body of a spider), from which smaller blood vessels extend (resembling the spider’s legs), also known by other names such as ‘ ‘vascular spider’, ‘arterial spider’, ‘spider telangiectasia’ and ‘spider naevus/nevus’.
What causes spider angiomas?
The cause of spider angiomas is not known. The vast majority affect healthy people, and most people have only one spider angioma or a just a few. Spider angiomas may appear when the body has increased levels of oestrogen hormones such as in pregnancy or when taking the oral contraceptive pill.
What are the symptoms of a spider angioma?
Apart from its appearance, a spider angioma does not usually cause any symptoms. Bleeding from a spider angioma is unusual but may occur if picked or scratched.
What does a spider angioma look like?
A spider angioma has a central red spot, which may be raised from which smaller red blood vessels radiate outwards. Pressing onto a spider angioma will make it disappear. On releasing the pressure, the blood will go back in, returning the red colour of the spider angioma. It may measure up to a centimetre in diameter.
The majority of spider angiomas are on the face, upper chest, back and upper arms.
How can a spider angioma be treated?
Spider angiomas are of cosmetic concern only and so are not usually treated by the National Health Service.
Laser therapy is a fast, effective procedure for removing spider angioma, At our centre we use Long pulsed Nd:YAG is the strongest and most effective treatment for vascular lesions.
Electrodessication is a procedure that utilizes a hyfrecator instrument with the intention of cauterizing the small arterioles.