Hereditary benign telangiectasia

Author: Eenass Natafji, Dermatology Registrar, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Scotland; Chief Editor: Dr Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, September 2015.

What is telangiectasia?

The term telangiectasia refers to a skin condition composed of fine red blood vessels: these are called telangiectases.

Cutaneous telangiectases are caused by permanent dilatation of small blood vessels resulting in small, red linear markings in the skin and mucous membranes. They can be primary or secondary.

What is benign hereditary telangiectasia?

Benign hereditary telangiectasia is a primary telangiectatic disorder. It has varying clinical patterns.

What causes benign hereditary telangiectasia and who is at risk?

The precise cause of benign hereditary telangiectasia is unknown.

What are the clinical features of benign hereditary telangiectasia?

Individuals with benign hereditary telangiectasia tend to present with numerous telangiectases.

How is benign hereditary telangiectasia diagnosed?

Benign hereditary telangiectasia is a clinical diagnosis. Histological examination of lesional skin shows dilatation of the sub-papillary venous plexus with associated upper dermal atrophy.

What are the differential diagnoses for telangiectasias?

The most important condition to rule out is hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia (Osler-Rendu-Weber syndrome). The differential diagnoses of primary telangiectasias in children also include:

What is the treatment and outcome of benign hereditary telangiectasia?

Due to the lack of systemic involvement, benign hereditary telangiectasia has an excellent prognosis and medical intervention is not usually required.

When treatment is requested for cosmetic reasons, the following treatments may be considered.

Related information

Email Newsletter

Would you like to receive our dermatology updates by email?


Submit your images

We're seeking high-quality photos of skin diseases.  


Machine diagnosis

Watch DermNet's proposal to create a 'Skin Disease Image Recognition Tool' - winner of the 2017 'Clinicians' Challenge Active Award' by the NZ Ministry of Health and HiNZ.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
DermNet NZ Newsletter