What causes spider veins?

Vein Doctor New York before and after Sclerotherapy

Spider Vein Causes Overview

Our Vein doctors are specialists in Spider Vein Treatments.  Treating spider veins require unique precision in needle placement.  Below are commonly asked questions regarding spider vein treatment and we hope that you will find it useful.  Spider Veins can be a very self conscious issue and we hope that the knowledge you gain here will help you better understand your disease process.  Our Vein Doctors are readily available if you have any further questions or interested in being evaluated.  If you want to see how sclerotherapy works, visit our patient gallery page.

What are Spider Veins?

Spider veins, also called telangiectasias are small veins that are present very superficially.  Because they’re located right under your skin, you are able to see them.  Spider veins can vary in color, from red to a purplish blue.  They are usually branches of another set of veins called “reticular veins.”  Spider veins do not cause any medical harm but they can cause significant psychological distress as it presents a major cosmetic problem.  Most patients with spider veins can be very self conscious about their veins and tend to avoid wearing dresses and shorts.

Who does Spider Veins effect?

Spider veins can effect anyone of any age.  Moreover, it can also be present anywhere in the body, from your face to your legs.  However, spider veins are more common in your lower extremity.  The reason is because spider veins are usually direct branches of bigger veins deep underneath your skin.  Because these veins have to carry the gravitational pressure of blood pooling in the legs, the indirect pressure of this can cause spider veins to appear on your skin.  Of note, because of this pooling, patients with chronic venous insufficiency will also have significant spider veins appear on their skin secondary to increased venous pressure from blood pooling.  

How can Spider Veins be treated?

There are several treatments to treat spider veins.  However, before considering treatment for spider veins, one must better understand the cause of it.  In some patients, it’s pure genetics – their spider veins is a direct result of veins located very superficially or closer to the skin surface.  In these cases, injections of sclerotherapy will help get rid of your spider veins.  However, in most cases, patients may have an issue called Chronic Venous Insufficiency which causes a high pressure system in the leg due to valvular incompetence.  In these patients, in order to treat their spider veins appropriately, the root underlying causation must first be identified.  For this reason, it is important for anyone who is considering spider vein treatment to undergo an ultrasound study to rule out an underlying cause to their spider veins.

New York Vein Doctor Varicose Vein Treatment

Is treatment for Spider Veins safe?

Treatment for spider veins comes in two modalities, sclerotherapy and laser therapy.  In the right hands, these treatments can be safe.  However, caution must be taken for each treatment type.  For instance, for sclerotherapy, your practitioner should know and be aware of the correct dosage of medication for the vein size being treated.  If your practitioner chooses the wrong dosage, skin necrosis can occur leading to undesired cosmetic results.  Further, care must be taken where the sclerosant is injected and arterial structures must be avoided.  For laser treatments, patients should be screened for any recent skin exposure and for any other skin irritants as the laser may cause harmful side effects.  At our Vein Treatment Center, we recommend that our patients be treated by Board Certified Vein Specialists.

What if I don’t treat my Spider Veins?

In general, spider veins are considered purely a cosmetic issue.  Most patients will live their entire life with spider veins without any harmful medical consequences.  In some cases however, spider veins may be a sign of an underlying circulation issue.  For patients who have spider veins along with leg cramping, leg swelling, leg pain, and/or varicose veins, we highly recommend that the patients obtain an ultrasound of their lower extremity to rule out any circulation issues.