02.07.11 Dr. Garth Rosenberg Cosmetic

Do Spider Veins Cause Varicose Veins?

Some patients wonder if spider veins will eventually turn into varicose veins. The simple answer is: No. Spider veins and varicose veins are two separate venous problems and one does not “turn into” the other. However, varicose veins can increase the risk of developing spider veins in the same area of the leg.

Varicose veins are those ugly bulging veins that protrude from the skin. They are sometimes bluish in color as the increased amount of venous blood in these veins gives a blue tint. Other varicose veins may remain the color of your skin, and are generally are greater than two mm in diameter (the size of a pencil lead) and may reach up to an inch in diameter in extreme cases. Spider veinsare generally about the size of a hair, or slightly bigger, and are a reddish or purplish color.

Spider veins do not pose a health risk and are primarily a cosmetic concern. Varicose veins may lead to pain, swelling, blood clots and skin ulcers because there is much more blood and pressure in these veins (as opposed to spider veins). One of the consequences of the elevated pressures in the varicose veins can be the development of spider veins. This higher skin pressure can cause the tiny skin vessels to swell with blood leading to the classic spider veins.

Because spider veins do not “grow into” varicose veins, you should consider treatment of these veins through sclerotherapy, primarily for cosmetic reasons. Sclerotherapy, which is introducing special medication directly into these small veins, is done with a tiny needle causing little discomfort. Results are exceptional if done by doctors or nurses with specialized training. Asclera, a recently FDA approved agent, is one of several medications used for this purpose.

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