What Are Spider Veins?
Spider veins are capillary veins which are easily visible through the skin, and generally appear as tiny webs of red, blue, or purple lines. Spider veins can become quite noticeable when they accumulate in sufficient number. Because of their small size and superficial location, spider veins rarely account for any symptoms in the legs. Although they are rarely a medical issue, many of our patients seek to eliminate their spider veins to enhance the aesthetic appearance of their legs.
Spider veins are very common. In fact, most people eventually have spider veins on their legs. Generally, they develop more often in women (50-55%) than men (40-45%). We do not really know why spider veins develop. Most of the treatments we perform for spider veins are for our female patients.
Spider veins are rarely a serious health problem. Very rarely spider veins will become so large and fragile that they will bleed. This usually occurs in patients with very dense spider veins around the ankles. The ankles almost appear to be purple because of the density of the veins. Other symptoms that may be present in the area of spider veins usually cannot be attributed to the veins. These sensations or symptoms have explanations other than the spider veins.
Spider veins occur independent of varicose veins and vice versa. Patients with severe varicose veins many not have any spider veins. People with many spider veins may have not one varicose vein. We consider the two types of veins to be independent of one another. When we treat patients with both varicose veins and spider veins we generally treat the varicose veins first.