While spider veins and varicose veins are sometimes used interchangeably, they are actually two very different issues. However, both commonly appear on the legs, usually for those who are advancing in years. Some feel the appearance of both spider veins and varicose veins can be unsightly and many turn to their dermatologists for solutions.
Spider Veins vs Varicose Veins: What is the Difference?
One of the biggest questions that dermatologists get on this subject, is, “do spider veins cause varicose veins?” To get the terms straight, varicose veins are enlarged, bulging veins that rise above the skin. They most often occur in the legs and can affect people of any age.
Usually, varicose veins are caused by a buildup of gravitational pressure in the veins, causing them to dilate and bulge out. Varicose veins can become quite painful and sometimes require medical intervention.
Spider veins, however, are the red, blue, and purple twisting lines that appear beneath the skin. Spider veins are little damaged blood vessels close to the skin. They are a common occurrence and are not a cause for concern. However, spider veins can become unsightly, and some may opt to have them cosmetically altered or removed.
Do Spider Veins Turn into Varicose Veins?
Both spider veins and varicose veins are caused by damaged or malfunctioning blood vessels, and sometimes they even occur in the same place. However, spider veins do not cause varicose veins. However, sometimes as varicose veins bulge into surrounding territory they can damage nearby vessels causing spider veins.
How to Prevent Spider Veins and Varicose Veins
While genes do play a factor, both spider veins and varicose vein prevention include:
- Keeping active and exercise regularly to improve circulation
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Avoiding constriction (like crossing your legs or sitting in the same position for too long)
- Elevate your legs whenever possible
- Refrain from standing in one place for too long
- Try compression stockings, which may also improve circulation
Other factors can also result in the formation of enlarged or damaged veins. Pregnancy, hormonal changes, and any other factor resulting in enlargement can cause spider or varicose veins to form.
The conditions are also more common for those who are aging because this is when veins start to weaken. Veins may also be weakened by injury or obesity.
Varicose and Spider Vein Treatments
Both varicose veins and spider veins can be treated in a few different ways that are all safe and effective outpatient procedures:
- Sclerotherapy: A chemical solution is injected to collapse the vein which is then absorbed by the body
- Lasers: Similarly, the heat from the lasers also causes the vein to collapse
- ASVAL: Using acupuncture needles to streamline the process of vein removal
“While spider and reticular veins are usually of cosmetic concern, they can occasionally cause pain without the presence of varicose veins. The proof of this is that wearing compression stockings can relieve the pain caused by spider veins. The second point is that varicose veins almost always present two problems: the patient has pain from the varicose veins and the patient is concerned about the cosmetic appearance of the varicose veins.
Using the revolutionary ASVAL procedure to treat varicose veins solves both problems because the varicose veins are completely removed through a small needle puncture which leaves essentially no scar. The patient returns one week after the ASVAL procedure with no pain, no stain, and no scar. The phlebologists at Advanced Dermatology have the largest experience with the ASVAL procedure in the United States, having performed over 2000 cases.” – John F. Gallagher, MD, FACS, RVT, RPVI
If you are interested in finding out more about the different varicose veins and spider vein treatments available to you, or if you are interested in other cosmetic treatments, look no further than the top-rated experts at Advanced Dermatology, PC division Island Vein Specialists. We would be happy to work with you at any of our 50+ locations, so book an in-person appointment today.