Spider Veins vs. Varicose Veins

What are Spider Veins and How Do They Differ From Varicose Veins?

What spider veins look likeMany people wonder if there is a difference betweenandvaricose veins. Quite simply, the answer is yes. Both are annoying and have a very unsightly appearance.

While what causes spider veins and varicose veins tends to be similar, the appearance is often very different. Spider veins are smaller and have a “spider web” type of look. They are usually located just under the surface of the skin and are considered superficial. They can look like a bruise as they are often blue or purple, red or blue in color and usually appear in clusters. This type of vein condition is generally not painful, and is treated via cosmetic procedures.

Varicose veins, on the other hand, are caused by valves located in diseased veins that do not fully close. This prevents the blood from flowing correctly and causing the blood to flow in the opposite direction and then pooling. This pooling causes the bulging look that is often purple or blue in color. Varicose veins often cause numbness, pain and fatigue in the legs. Should the varicose veins remain untreated, painful leg ulcers can results.

The risk of varicose veins rises as we age. Interestingly, about 30 to 50 percent adults suffer from chronic venous insufficiency, an underlying condition that often leads to varicose veins.

While the symptoms for each are similar, they are usually much more severe in varicose vein cases. Spider veins may cause slight itching or burning. Varicose vein symptoms can include throbbing, burning, and feelings of heaviness. Most people will not experience any warning signals that varicose veins are developing.

Treatment Options

There are different treatment options depending on how severe your case is. These options include:

Sclerotherapy — Used for spider veins and smaller varicose veins. A sclerant solution is injected into the veins to shut and eliminate the vein.

Ambulatory Phlebectomy — Used for varicose veins and is an alternative to old-style vein stripping. During this minimally invasive procedure, the larger surface of the veins are removed through small incisions.

Endovenous Laser Treatment — Uses laser therapy to close and destroy the vein. EVT uses laser energy to effectively close the vein, which is then absorbed by the body.

Compression Therapy — This treatment can include compression garments, exercise, and massage.

Call the Skin and Vein Center to make an appointment to diagnose your individual case, as well as to discuss all the various treatment options and which one will be the most beneficial to you.

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