Lahey Health is now part of Beth Israel Lahey Health

by Kerr SJ

Definition

Telangiectasias are small blood vessels that you can see just below the surface of the skin. They may appear as a single vessel or a cluster of vessels. Telangiectasias can also appear in the mouth, eyes, and brain.

Causes

Small blood vessels become stuck in a wide open position. This makes them more visible. It is not always clear why this happens. Some may have related conditions, such as rosacea.

Risk Factors

It is most common in women and people aged 40 years and older. There may also be an increased chance in those with a family history.

Symptoms

Symptoms are red lines under the skin that:

  • May appear in a lacy pattern
  • Can appear anywhere on the body, but are most common on the face, nose, and legs
  • Most often painless but some may have a burning sensation or bleeding

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and health past. A physical exam will be done. A diagnosis is often made during the exam.

Treatment

Telangiectasias do not always need treatment. They rarely cause health concerns. However, some may not like how they look.

Make-up can be used to cover the red patches. The blood vessels can be destroyed with laser therapy or chemicals. These treatments are not appropriate for everyone.

Prevention

There are no steps to prevent telangiectasias.

RESOURCES

American Academy of Dermatology  http://www.aad.org 

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians  http://www.familydoctor.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Dermatology Association  http://www.dermatology.ca 

The College of Family Physicians of Canada  http://www.cfpc.ca 

References

Generalised essential telangiectasia. DermNet NZ website. Available at: http://dermnetnz.org/vascular/essential-telangiectasia.html. Updated May 16, 2016. Accessed May 20, 2018.

Idiopathic telangiectasias. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/cardiovascular-disorders/peripheral-venous-disorders/idiopathic-telangiectasias. Updated May 2014. Accessed May 20, 2018.

Spider telangiectasias in children. Boston Children's Hospital website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/spider-telangiectasias. Accessed May 20, 2018.

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