Telangiectasias are small, widened blood vessels on the skin. They are usually harmless, but may be associated with several diseases.
Vascular ectasias; Spider veins
Telangiectasias may develop anywhere within the body. But they are most easily seen on the skin, mucous membranes, and whites of the eyes. Usually, they do not cause symptoms. Some telangiectasias bleed and cause significant problems. Telangiectasias may also occur in the brain or intestines and cause major problems from bleeding.
Causes may include:
Diseases associated with this condition include:
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you notice enlarged vessels in the skin, mucous membranes, or eyes.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
The provider will perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms, including:
Tests may be needed to diagnose or rule out a medical condition. Tests may include:
Sclerotherapy is the treatment for telangiectasias on the legs. In this procedure, a saline (salt) solution or other chemical is injected directly into the spider veins on the legs. Laser treatment is typically used to treat telangiectasias of the face.
Kelly R, Baker C. Other vascular disorders. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, eds. Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 106.
Patterson JW. Vascular tumors. In: Patterson JW, ed. Weedon's Skin Pathology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2016:chap 38.
Review Date: 4/14/2017
Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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