What are spider veins? The medical term for spider veins is telangiectasia. Spider veins are thin walled veins on the surface of the skin. They differ from all the other normal thin walled surface veins because they are dilated veins which make them more visible than the normal veins. So you notice spider veins as those red or blue or purple threadlike veins that often occur in networks and patches. They are often look like a tiny long legged spider because they have a small body with a network of skinny legs.
Spider veins on legs appear often on the side of thighs [see below], on the calves [see below] and around the ankles [see above]. The cluster of spider veins on the side of the ankle is called corona phlebectatica, which means crown of veins. When the corona phlebectatica cluster of spider veins is present it is a sign of more significant vein disease in the underlying veins.
Spider Veins on the legs are usually related to vein diseases like venous insufficiency, varicose veins and trauma from healed bruises. Factors that influence the appearance of spider veins on the legs are age, family history, female hormones, occupations that require prolonged standing.
Spider veins can occur anywhere on the body and most commonly occur on the legs but they also commonly occur on the face and chest. Spider Veins on the face and torso have different causes. Spider Veins on the face are often caused by sun damage, rosacea, and skin diseases [lupus, scleroderma] or in response to medications like steroids. Spider veins that occur on the chest and trunk are may be caused by sun damage or they can be related to certain disease like cirrhosis of the liver or pregnancy. Or chest and trunk spider veins can be the result of a combination of the above.
The most effective treatment of spider veins depends on the location and cause of the veins. The best treatment for spider veins on the face is usually a light based device like a laser or IPL and Radiofrequency device like Veinwave. However sometimes large blue veins on the face only respond to Sclerotherapy. On the legs the opposite is true and the best treatment for most spider veins on the legs is Sclerotherapy as there is often an underlying feeder veins that need to be treated for best results. However the can be some cases with very fine red veins on the leg that respond lasers / IPL and Radiofrequency [Veinwave] devices. Again the trunk and chest spider veins usually respond to a mixture of the above treatments. For optimal results it is best to see a vein specialist that has all of the treatments and technologies available so that no matter what type of spider veins and where they are located the specialist will have the best treatment technology for your veins.
What is the first step to get spider veins treated? The first step is a consultation with a physician experienced in the treatment of all types of spider veins. An experienced vein specialist [also known as a phlebologist] will be able to recognize a spider veins patterns that are suggestive of underlying disease or a pattern of spider that may need further investigation for an underlying cause. Because spider veins are usually a cosmetic issue the consultation is usually free.