Broken Blood Vessels or Spider Veins?

I have got these red marks on my arms. They are quite small and round. I have seen 2 different skin specialists and been given 2 different outcomes. One said they are spider veins and should be treated with IPL; I have looked this up on the net and it does match them. The other said broken blood vessels, and should be treated with Pulsed Dye Laser. Please, can you give me some advise on what would be best to go for as I am really unsure? I look forward to hearing from you.

Doctor Answers 4

Cherry angiomas of the arms and legs

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Cherry angiomas are punctate lesions that are amenable to long pulse laser treatments with Nd YAg lasers. You can expect good outcomes with a single treatment. 

Cherry angiomas

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These sound like they could be cherry angiomas - small 2-4mm diameter red spots that can occur anywhere on the body. Although benign, these can often be unsightly, especially when there are numerous lesions present. Fortunately these lesions are very amenable to laser treatment. If the spots are small enough, just one treatment may be necessary. I always use a pulsed dye laser for these types of growths. A pulsed dye laser is specific for the blood vessels and is far superior to any IPL device for complete removal. Good luck.

Jason R. Lupton, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon

Broken blood vessels or spider veins

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Both doctors are correct. Broken blood vessels are the same thing as spider veins. The most accurate way to treat them is with a laser designed to target specifically the blood vessels (or the red blood cells in them). There are many lasers designed to do this such as the pulsed dye laser or KTP laser. I think these are a much more accurate way to treat. IPL can treat them in some cases, but not the treatment of choice.

Hope this helps.

Tomi L. Wall, MD
Oakland Dermatologic Surgeon

Small red round marks may be cherry angioma

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A proper diagnosis will determine the treatment. Actually broken blood vessels and spider veins are the same thing. But from your description, you may have cherry angioma.

IPL is the least invasive as it is not a laser treatment but a light treatment. IPL will seldom cause anything more than a slight crusting of pigmented areas which will then fall off. The light also seals small blood vessels so you can get two problems treated at the same time.

A KTP laser is more specific for "spot" areas and would be a better choice for more pronounced blood vessel abnormality -- which would be the case for cherry angioma.

There is an excellent website named which has a wealth of photos that may help you determine what your specific spots may be.

Nissan Pilest, MD
Irvine Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

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