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What Are Reticular Veins?

Published on January 27, 2017

Reticular veins, also known as feeder veins, are the blue or red colored short lines that appear just under the surface of the skin. Although they are not symptomatic, they can cause quite a bit of discomfort. The vessels can also originate from larger varicose veins. Reticular veins are often an indicator of varicose veins.


There are a number of known causes for reticular veins. These include, but are not limited to:

• Heredity
• Excess body weight
• Jobs that involve a lot of standing such as teachers, beauticians, nurses, and factory workers
• Hormonal changes
• Birth control pills
• Hormonal replacement post-menopause
• A history of clotting disorders
• Excess exposure to the sun


Spider veins are not usually a serious health problem. However, they can cause quite a bit of discomfort in the legs, like burning and itching. Spider veins can also be a sign of blood backing up deeper inside the leg. If that is the case, it is quite serious and needs immediate medical attention.

Treatment Approaches

There are many minimally invasive surgical options to treat leg veins:

Sclerotherapy – Usually the go-to choice for treating spider veins. The surgeon will inject a foam or liquid irritant into the vein. This will make it swell up and stick together. This forces the circulation shut. It does not impair the circulation in any way because the healthy and normal blood vessels nearby will compensate for it.

Up until quite recently, doctors used sodium tetradecyl sulphate for sclerotherapy. In 2010, a new agent called Asclera was approved by the FDA. Both of them work well on varicose and spider veins. Make sure that you let your surgeon know if you have a history of allergies before undergoing the procedure.

Surface Therapy – Reticular veins can also be treated with a laser. They emit light at specific wavelengths to heat up the damaged vein without injuring the nearby tissues. You will be given protective eye-gear to safeguard the eyes from any damage from the laser.

Some people prefer laser therapy to injectables as it does not involve needles. A sharp pinching sensation is all you will feel with this treatment. The procedure lasts about 20 minutes and does not require bandages. Surface therapy is particularly effective if the vein is too narrow for injections.

Internal Therapy – This is an endovenous technique that is used to treat deep varicose veins. The vein is located with the help of a guided ultrasound. A catheter is then inserted into the vein. Once the catheter is in position, radiofrequency energy is emitted to shrink and seal the vein. The procedure can cause localized pain and swelling.

You might have to wear compression stockings for at least two weeks after the surgery. Surface veins that are connected to the treated vein shrink up after the treatment. If they don’t, your surgeon will treat them with sclerotherapy.

Contact Our Office

Contact us to schedule a consultation today. During your consultation, you can speak with Dr. Raffi Dishakjian, a skilled vein specialist, to learn more about what reticular veins are and and how to treat them.

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