Spider Veins or Telangiectasias
Spider veins (Telangiectasias) are thin purple or red superficial veins commonly appearing as on the thighs, legs, ankles, and occasionally on the face.
Spider veins usually take on one of three basic patterns. They may appear in a true spider shape with a group of thin broken and curved veins converging into a central point (A). Occasionally, they may take branch-like shapes (B); or they may be linear, appearing as separate thin lines (C). Linear spider veins commonly occur on the inner knee, whereas the branched-like ones often appear on the outer thigh in a sunburst pattern.
Spider veins occur in the general population much more commonly than varicose veins. In fact, most people who have spider veins do not have varicose veins. However, once venous reflux occurs and varicose (bulging) veins form, the pressure in these veins leads to accelerated and often uncontrolled growth of spider vein clusters.
In the absence of venous reflux, spider veins occur spontaneously and independently. This happens due to the inherent weakness of the one-way valve system of the smaller veins of the legs. These veins subsequently dilate, expand and recruit smaller networks of thinner veins that are visible to the naked eye.
SPIDER VEIN PATTERNS
Causes for the Appearance of Spider Veins
While it is true that there are some conditions like pregnancy, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, localized trauma or general aging that may hasten the appearance of spider veins. The vast majority of patients have a genetic predisposition to develop them. Note that the genetic tendency is not always expressed in every individual in the family. It may sometimes skip a generation or two.
Chest and Facial spider veins, on the other hand, usually appear due to sun damage.
Interestingly, most of the patients that seek spider vein removal are otherwise healthy. In general, they are fit, physically active, and relatively young, in the 30-55 age range.
It should be pointed out that pregnancy is the most common precipitating event for the appearance of spider and blue veins in the child-bearing age female population. Wearing high compression stocking in the third trimester may have some preventative benefits in these patients. Other preventative measures may include being physically active, avoiding prolonged periods of standing, and keeping your weight in check.
Wearing high compression stockings consistently may have theoretical preventative benefit, but is unacceptable to most patients.
Treatment of Spider Veins
Spider veins and their feeder vein counterparts are often perceived as a cosmetic problem. In some patients, however, they could be associated with disproportionately severe symptoms similar to those occurring with varicose veins. Treating these spider veins can often dramatically reduce these symptoms.
Please go to spider vein treatment or vein sclerotherapy to read about the treatment of these unsightly veins, or click non-surgical vein treatments to read about the many minimally invasive vein treatment techniques currently offered by advanced vein centers and clinics, including our vein center, Nu Vela.