Spider veins are a form of varicose veins involving veins less than a millimeter in diameter that lie very close to or within the skin surface. These often appear blue, purple, or red in color and often take on the appearance of a “spider’s web” or the shape of a spider. These veins are treated cosmetically with laser treatment or injected sclerotherapy. Multiple treatments may be necessary to achieve desired results and are not covered by medical insurance.
Spider veins usually do not pose a health threat. Although, they can cause aching and discomfort, spider veins are primarily a cosmetic problem.
Both spider veins and varicose veins are caused by a backup of blood related to venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency occurs when valves in the veins become damaged or weak, causing blood to pool in leg veins instead of traveling back up to the heart.
Spider veins are also caused by issues unrelated to underlying venous insufficiency, including hormones, sun exposure, and even minor injuries. However, due to their connection with venous insufficiency that can cause bulging, painful varicose veins, it’s recommended that you see a vein specialist for a full evaluation to determine if your spider veins are related to hidden varicose veins in the legs; this will allow your doctors to help you treat venous insufficiency before it becomes a more aggressive problem.
Information sourced from the American Vein & Lymphatic Society, Sciton and Medtronic.