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 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 doctor will perform a physical exam and ask questions about the symptoms, including:
Tests may be needed to diagnose or rule out a medical condition. Such tests may include:
Liver function studies
Sclerotherapy is the treatment for telangectasias on the legs. Laser treatment is typically used to treat telangectasias of the face.
James WD, Berger TG, Elston DM. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 35.
Kelly R, Baker C. Other vascular disorders. In: In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, eds. Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 106.
Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial Team.