Telangiectasias are dilated blood vessels that are generally found in the outer layer of the skin. When seen on the legs, they are often called spider veins.
It is a condition in which the small linear red blood vessels are visible. These are also called telangiectases. Visible blood vessels that are blue in color are called venulectasia, because venules are involved.
Who is at risk?
Telangiectasias are very common in healthy people and are generally caused by sun damage or aging.
When seen on the legs, they do not necessarily indicate a vein disorder, such as varicose veins or underlying deep vein problems.
Though, telangiectasias are seen with a number of diseases which includes acne rosacea, birthmarks, scleroderma, several types of inherited disorders, or with prolonged use of oral or topical corticosteroids.
When to seek medical care?
Visit your doctor if you are having a family history of similar marks, any personal or family history of bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, lesions on the mouth or eye lining, or repeated bleeding from a lesion.
You may want to take medical advice for treatment, if the lesions are cosmetically displeasing, although treatment for telangiectasias is generally not covered by insurance.
Signs & Symptoms of telangiectasias
Telangiectasias can be found anywhere on the body. They are common on the face (nose, cheeks, and chin) and legs (particularly the thighs, just below the knees and the ankles).
Telangiectasias may be red, blue, or purple linear marks measuring less than 1–3 mm in width and many millimeters to centimeters in length, and they can disappear temporarily if you press them with your finger.
Treatments of telangiectasias
If you are concerned about a potential disease causing the telangiectasias, blood tests and evaluations of family members can be done.
If you are having acne rosacea, oral or topical antibiotics may be prescribed by the doctor. The view of telangiectasias can be improved by laser treatments and burning (electrocautery).
Laser treatment of telangiectasias on the leg is more difficult and may leave marks. Chemicals can be injected to cause scarring in the blood vessel therefore sclerotherapy is mostly preferred for treating spider veins.