Nevus araneus is a bright red, faintly pulsatile vascular lesion consisting of a central arteriole with slender projections resembling spider legs.
These lesions are acquired. One lesion or small numbers of lesions unrelated to internal disease may occur in children or adults. Patients with cirrhosis develop many spider angiomas that may become quite prominent. Many women develop lesions during pregnancy or while taking oral contraceptives.
The lesions are asymptomatic and usually resolve spontaneously about 6 to 9 mo postpartum or after oral contraceptives are stopped. Lesions are not uncommon on the faces of children. Compression of the central vessel temporarily obliterates the lesion.
Diagnosis is clinical.
Treatment is not usually required. If resolution is not spontaneous or treatment is desired for cosmetic purposes, the central arteriole can be destroyed with fine-needle electrodesiccation; vascular laser treatment may also be done.
Last full review/revision March 2013 by Denise M Aaron, MD
Content last modified November 2013