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Generalized Essential Telangiectasia

  • Author: David Green, MD, PA; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
Updated: Oct 09, 2015


A telangiectasis refers to a visibly dilated blood vessel on the skin or mucosal surface. Telangiectases that develop in the absence of any preceding or coexisting cutaneous or systemic disease are considered to be primary or essential. Telangiectases resulting from or in association with a known disease state are classified as secondary.

Different presentations of primary telangiectases have been arbitrarily classified as distinct syndromes, designated by terms that often are descriptive based on inheritance, age of onset, anatomic distribution, morphology, prognosis, or associated findings. No recognized nomenclature exists for these telangiectatic disorders. Generalized essential telangiectasia refers to one syndrome of acquired primary telangiectases that are so termed because of their widespread anatomic distribution.[1]



The pathophysiologic factors causing blood vessel dilatation in generalized essential telangiectasia are yet to be elaborated. Familial cases have been reported with an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance.




Neither the incidence nor prevalence of generalized essential telangiectasia is known.


Generalized essential telangiectasia has been reported more commonly in whites, perhaps because of the marked contrast of the vessels on light-complexioned skin.


Women are affected more commonly than are men, and in one published study of 13 people with generalized essential telangiectasia, 10 of the reported patients were women.


In one report of 13 patients, the average age of onset for generalized essential telangiectasia was 38 years.[2]

Contributor Information and Disclosures

David Green, MD, PA Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology, Howard University Hospital

David Green, MD, PA is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Phlebology, American Medical Association, American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Richard P Vinson, MD Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Dermatology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Paul L Foster School of Medicine; Consulting Staff, Mountain View Dermatology, PA

Richard P Vinson, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Texas Medical Association, Association of Military Dermatologists, Texas Dermatological Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Van Perry, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology, University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio

Van Perry, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Dirk M Elston, MD Professor and Chairman, Department of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine

Dirk M Elston, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Gregory J Raugi, MD, PhD Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Dermatology, University of Washington at Seattle School of Medicine; Chief, Dermatology Section, Primary and Specialty Care Service, Veterans Administration Medical Center of Seattle

Gregory J Raugi, MD, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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