Spider Angioma - Causes, Pictures and Treatment (Removal)


What is Spider Angioma?

A spider angioma is a small capillary that is dilated. When a small group of these capillaries are near the surface of the skin they can look like a spider web.[1] They are common and yet they are an abnormal group of capillaries near the skin's surface. [3] It is also called Nevus araneus, spider veins, vascular spider or spider telangiectasia.[4]

 

Symptoms of Spider Angioma

Spider angioma (Nevus araneus) has no symptoms besides its own appearance.[2] The most common place to find spider angiomas is on your face or torso. They can also be seen on ears, hands or forearms. Sometimes they appear as one and other times there are several.

The small red dot in the center and small lines of red which radiate from the center are telltale signs of spider angioma. It may only be about 1-10 mm in size. [1]

Spider angiomas occur in about 10-15% of the adult population.When they occur in children it is usually on the fingers or hands. [2] The presence of multiple spider angiomas, more than 5, can be a symptom of liver disease. [4]

A similar condition is cherry angioma which is usually dilated capillaries in a clump, that does not radiate out.

 

Spider Angioma Causes

Spider angiomas are generally benign resulting from dilated capillaries. There are six medical conditions which include spider angiomas as symptoms.
  1. Pregnancy
  2. Cirrhosis of the liver
  3. Primary biliary cirrhosis
  4. Hepatic diseases
  5. Hormonal contraception
  6. Wilson's Disease
Wilson's disease is a rare genetic disorder which can be fatal if it is not diagnosed. It is due to a high level of copper in the liver. [6] Spider angiomas which occur during pregnancy or with high estrogen content in your system will usually resolve themselves and disappear over time.

The dilated capillaries are a consequence of elevated estrogen levels in the blood. Because the liver is responsible for metabolizing estrogen, the presence of spider angiomas can be evidence of liver diseases. [4]

 

Spider Angioma Lesion Pictures

  
 Picture 1 : Spider Angioma on face 

  Picture 2 : Spider Angioma on nose


  Picture 3 : Spider Angioma (spider naevus) on face

Spider Angioma Diagnosis

Spider angioma (nevus araneus) has no other external symptoms besides its appearance. If you press on the center it disappears, but it returns when the pressure is removed.[3]
  • Taking the patient's medical history is also important and helpful.
  • Ask about a history of alcohol abuse.
  • Is the patient taking medication that can cause liver damage?
  • Is the female patient taking oral contraceptives or hormonal supplements?
  • Is she pregnant?
Generally, tests are not necessary to diagnose spider angioma. In some cases, it may be necessary to take a skin biopsy to eliminate basal cell carcinoma, particularly if the lesion is increasing in size. Sometimes blood tests are needed if the physician suspects a liver condition. [3] The spider angioma is not a vascular proliferation. It is the result of existing blood vessels which dilate. [2]

 

Spider Angioma Treatment (Removal)

Generally, no treatment is need for spider angiomas. Sometimes it is a cosmetic concern and the patient will request to have it removed. In these cases, laser treatment or electrocauterization therapy is the preferred treatment.[2] Do not try to scrape it off on your own with a razor. That can result in significant bleeding and infection. They will usually disappear in children, but often remain on adults. [6]

 

Natural Alternative Treatments

The focus for natural remedies is to improve your diet and drink more water. This will help to strengthen weak blood vessels by eating high fiber foods and others containing bioflavonoids. Examples are: blueberries, citrus fruit, cherries and adding vitamin C as a supplement. Also the bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) and ginkgo (Ginkgo bilboa) herbs are known to be helpful. [5]

 

When to Seek a Doctor's Help

If the spider angioma is growing or bleeding, you should consult your physician. If the lesion changes color or you begin suddenly to have multiple angiomas, that is time to seek medical attention. If you have a history of alcohol abuse, tell your doctor. Also if you begin to have yellowish skin or a swollen belly, contact your doctor right away. [1]  

References
  1. http://www.skinsight.com/adult/spiderAngioma.htm
  2. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1084388-followup
  3. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001095.htm
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider_angioma
  5. http://www.vashonorganics.com/WSWrapper.jsp?mypage=treatment_symptoms_spider%20angiomas.htm
  6. http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/symptoms/spider_angiomas/causes.htm