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Merck Manual

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Nevus Araneus

(Spider Nevus; Spider Angioma; Vascular Spider)


Denise M. Aaron

, MD, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Last full review/revision Sep 2020
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Nevus araneus is a bright red, faintly pulsatile vascular lesion consisting of a central arteriole with slender projections resembling spider legs.

Nevus araneus lesions are acquired. One lesion or small numbers of lesions unrelated to internal disease may occur in children or adults. Patients with liver disease or 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 months 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.


  • Clinical evaluation

Diagnosis of nevus araneus is clinical.


  • Usually unnecessary

Treatment of nevus araneus 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.

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