Spider Veins Versus Varicose Veins

With the warmer weather here, people are starting to think about the way their veins look in summer shorts. If you are one of the 50 to 55 percent of women or 40 to 45 percent of men suffering from venous disease, you may be wondering what the bulging or unsightly veins on your legs mean. In this blog post, we will walk through the differences between spider and varicose veins, so you know what to look for this summer.

Appearance:

The biggest difference between the two are their appearance. Spider veins are smaller, thin veins that are purple, blue or red in color. These veins are on the skin’s surface and typically appear on the leg and face.

Varicose veins are larger, bulging veins that are on the legs and are blue, purple and flesh colored.

Causes:

Spider veins are caused by various factors including: poor circulation, hormonal changes, sun exposure and trauma/injury to a certain area.

Varicose veins are also caused by poor circulation but can develop with age and pregnancy. Often times varicose veins are caused by an underlying vein disorder known as venous insufficiency, which can worsen over time if left untreated.

Other lifestyle factors such as weight, smoking and family history can also increase the risk of the formation of both varicose and spider veins.

Symptoms:

Spider veins can often be purely cosmetic and those who have them may feel no pain. Others may experience symptoms of heavy or tired legs which that may be a sign that there is an underlying cause.

Those with varicose veins can experience several symptoms including: aching, swelling, throbbing, itching, leg fatigue, night cramps and restless legs.

Treatment:

At Advanced Vein Center we have several different procedures to help treat spider and varicose veins. Treatment options include:

  • Sclerotherapy, which is the gold standard for spider vein treatment. The procedure involves injecting an FDA approved sclerosing agent directly into the affected veins. This causes the vessels to seal shut and fade from the skin’s surface. Over the next few weeks, the body will eliminate the treated veins through natural processes and reroute blood flow to other healthy veins.
  • Endovenous Laser Treatment (or EVLT) is a highly effective, non-invasive treatment for varicose veins. It involves using laser energy to close off varicose veins. Laser heat is delivered directly into the affected vein using a very narrow catheter. This heat causes the vessel walls to seal closed and the vein is eventually limited through the body’s natural processes. Best part of all, this procedure is done without anesthesia, on an outpatient basis and has little to no downtime.
  • Ambulatory Phlebectomy is a minimally-invasive procedure used to surgically remove larger, bulging varicose veins. This procedure involves tiny incisions and a tool that is inserted into the leg to removal the affected vein in small sections. Ultrasound imaging is used to locate the vein and guide the procedure for greater precision and less trauma to the leg during treatment.

If you’re suffering from spider or varicose veins, help is available! Call us today at (207) 772-1820 to schedule your free leg screening with our team of experts at Advanced Vein Center.