Spider veins are the tiny, cobweb-like discolorations visible from just beneath the surface of your skin. These discolorations can range from red to blue to violet in appearance. Spider veins can occur nearly anywhere on the body – but tend to appear most commonly on the face and legs. Spider veins do not cause pain or other symptoms. However, for many, these unsightly discolorations are a source of embarrassment.
Want to see what spider veins look like before and after treatment at Edward G. Mackay and Associates, LLC? Visit the photo gallery on our Spider Vein Treatments page.
Why Spider Veins Form
When blood pools in the small veins near the surface of the skin, branches of the vein can bulge – creating the telltale appearance of spider veins. In many cases, people with spider veins have a genetic predisposition to developing the condition.
- Spider veins on the legs most often occur when there is a problem with the valves inside your veins. When these valves fail to shut properly, blood can collect in the veins, creating the appearance of spider veins.
- Spider veins on the face occur when capillaries dilate and burst, which can be triggered by sun damage, poor circulation, aging, and other factors (including drastic fluctuations in temperature or air pressure, or even a particularly hard sneeze).
Difference Between Spider Veins and Varicose Veins
Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but occur in smaller veins that are closer to the surface of the skin. Spider veins typically cause no symptoms, while varicose veins are associated with pain, swelling, cramping, and heaviness in the legs. Perhaps the most consequential difference is that spider veins are a cosmetic issue – whereas varicose veins are a medical concern that may require treatment.
FAQs: Spider Veins
No. Spider veins will not worsen into the condition known as varicose veins. In other words, spider veins do not cause varicose veins. That said, people who are prone to developing spider veins may also be likely to develop varicose veins.
There are some risk factors that increase your chances of developing spider veins. Having these risk factors does not mean you will develop spider veins, but it increases the likelihood that you might.
You may have an increased risk of developing spider veins if one or more of the following apply to you:
- Family History of Spider Veins: If other members of your family, such as a parent or sibling, have spider veins, you are more likely to develop spider veins, as well.
- Obesity: Carrying extra weight and being obese increases the pressure in the veins in the legs, elevating the risk of blood pooling to occur in the veins.
- Standing, sitting for long periods of time: Those who sit or stand for long periods of time may develop spider veins due to the added pressure within the veins of the legs.
- Age:The older you are, the higher the chance you will develop spider veins. Your veins become stiffer and less flexible with age, which can impair the proper functioning of the valves in your veins.
- Being female: Women are more likely to develop varicose veins due to hormone fluctuations during their menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause.
The procedure most often recommended to treat spider veins is sclerotherapy. This involves injecting a chemical substance, a sclerosant, into the spider vein to shut it down. It is eventually resorbed by the body. There are several ways we can perform this convenient procedure right here in the offices of Edward G. Mackay and Associates, LLC.
For more information, see our Spider Vein Treatments page.
It may take several weeks to see the results of a spider vein treatment session. This can vary, depending on how many spider veins are present and how many spider vein treatments are needed. Because of how the treatment works, it takes the body time to react to the treated vein and begin reabsorption, which is why it can take weeks to notice a difference after a spider vein treatment.
The majority of people achieve their desired results after four treatment sessions, performed about 6 weeks apart – although the number of sessions you require will vary, depending on the number of spider veins to be addressed. Ideally, after all treatment sessions are concluded, all of your spider veins should no longer be visible.
While spider veins are easily treated, the condition can recur – especially if you are predisposed to developing spider veins.
In many cases, spider veins occur in people who are genetically prone to developing the condition. Even so, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent – or at least delay – the development of spider veins. These include:
- Low-impact exercise: Performing low-impact exercises, such as walking, swimming, or biking at least 3 or 4 days per week allows your muscles to regularly squeeze blood through your blood vessels. Regular low-impact exercise is also a great way to lose weight and reduce pressure in the veins of your legs. It’s important to note that high-impact exercises can worsen spider veins by increasing pressure within the veins.
- Leg elevation: Elevating your legs at the end of the day aids normal circulation by helping to move blood from the veins of the legs and toward the heart.
- Change position regularly: If you sit or stand for long periods of time, attempt to move more throughout the day. Try to step away at least twice every hour to walk in order to improve circulation in the legs. You can also perform foot pumps or calf raises to help squeeze the blood out of the legs with the contraction of the muscles.
Make Your Legs Beautiful Again With Spider Vein Treatment
If spider veins are keeping you from confidently wearing shorts, dresses, or bathing suits, the vein-focused vascular experts at Edward G. Mackay and Associates, LLC can help. There are several quick and easy in-office procedures we can perform to safely and effectively treat spider veins.
Dr. Mackay is a board-certified vascular surgeon who specializes in treating spider veins, varicose veins, and other venous disorders. Our state-of-the-art medical offices in Palm Harbor, St. Petersburg, and Largo, Florida, are accredited vascular testing facilities, so you know you’re getting the very best vein care.
Schedule a consultation now to discuss your spider vein treatment options by calling Edward G. Mackay and Associates, LLC at (727) 781-5652, or simply request an appointment now.