What are Spider Veins?
Spider veins, also known as telangiectasia, are a group of dilated veins located just under the surface of the skin and most often found on the legs. Usually red or blue in color, they resemble spider webs or tree branches. While smaller than varicose veins, spider veins share some common characteristics with varicose veins in terms of causes and symptoms.
While sometimes a cosmetic issue, more often than not, there is an underlying venous disease that is of greater concern. These spider veins on legs can sometimes be painful, burn, itch or, in the worst instances, rupture and cause bleeding. For these reasons it is always best to have a Vein Specialist diagnose varicose veins or spider veins in order to rule out these larger issues. Insurance will typically cover treatment if you have painful spider veins if they affect your activities of daily living.
Spider Vein Symptoms
Spider veins are easily recognizable by their web-like or "tree branch" appearance and sometimes do not cause pain, however, the following symptoms are often present as well:
- Aching legs
- Painful legs
- Burning or Itching
- Swelling Legs
- Bleeding Veins
- Skin Ulcers
Spider Veins Cause
Spider veins and varicose veins have similar causes. Normal veins have one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing in reverse as your body pumps blood back to the heart. When these valves cease to function properly, blood is allowed to collect, or pool, and the vein swells.
The following are found to be the most common causes of spider veins:
- Aging - As we age, veins become weaker due to loss of elasticity.
- Pregnancy - In order to support a growing fetus, the volume of blood in the body increases during pregnancy but blood flow from legs to pelvis decreases.
- Heredity – Family History of Varicose or Spider Veins.
- Standing or Sitting for long periods - Blood does not flow well without body activity.
- Obesity - Additional weight puts additional pressure on veins in the legs.
- History of Blood Clots
- Use of Birth Control Pills
Spider Vein Treatment
The procedure for spider vein treatment causes minimal pain (if any) and has a fast recovery time. The method we employ at Advanced Vein Institute of Arizona is:
- Liquid Sclerotherapy and Compression (chemical injection) - Sclerotherapy can be used to treat smaller veins. This can be a time and cost effective procedure but sometimes requires multiple sessions for complete successful removal. Occasionally spider vein treatment is performed with ultrasound guidance.
- Cost of Sclerotherapy - Sclerotherapy cost is based on how many syringes are needed. Typically patients do not need more than two syringes to treat a considerable amount of spider veins. In addition, if this is medically related, your insurance will cover the treatment.