Spider Veins

legsWhat are spider veins?

Spider veins are small superficial veins that appear blue or red underneath the surface of the skin. They can appear as random unconnected lines or be connected in a “sunburst” or “spider” pattern. They can cover a large are of skin and be very unattractive.

What causes spider veins?

There are a number of factors that can play a role in the development of dilated blood vessels on the legs: genetics, pregnancy, obesity, trauma, prior episodes of blood clots in the legs, prolonged standing, hormonal, and venous hypertension. Any setting or condition that increases the pressure inside the deeper, larger veins will transmit this higher pressure to the more superficial veins to which they are connected. When you are standing, the venous pressure in the superficial small veins near the surface of the skin can exceed 100 mm Hg. This causes the veins to dilate and become leaky. Over time, the elevated pressures in the veins will damage the valves, larger green varicose veins, swelling in the legs, skin ulcers, and a rusty discoloration may develop.

How can I prevent them?

Wearing support stockings helps prevent the veins from enlarging. You should wear support stockings with at least 20-25 mm Hg. Regular pantyhose does not provide sufficient support. Avoid crossing your legs as this impedes the venous blood flow and increases pressure inside the veins. When you are sitting, if possible elevate your legs. Keep your weight under control and exercise regularly.

Will they stay away after I have them treated?

Periodic touch-up treatments are needed to keep the veins away. This may be once or twice a year, depending on the individual.