Spider veins are visible patches of small purple or red blood vessels. They materialize near the skin’s surface, often on the face or legs, and resemble a twisted spider web or tree branch. Spider veins are a milder form of varicose veins.

Spider and varicose veins are found more often in females than in males. Up to 60% of adults may develop one of these vein conditions over their lifetime, especially as one ages.

There are certain factors that may predispose someone to developing unsightly spider veins. They include:

  • Venous insufficiency
  • Heredity
  • Congenital chronic heart valve conditions
  • Aging
  • Jobs that entail standing for long periods of time
  • Obesity
  • Hormonal changes due to pregnancy
  • Birth control pills
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • History of blood clots
  • Wearing tight clothing

One of the causes of spider veins can be venous insufficiency, also known as phlebitis. This is when the valves in veins prevent blood from flowing backwards while moving up the legs. This causes blood to pool in the legs, increasing pressure on the vein walls.

Spider Vein Complications

In general, this vein condition is not usually dangerous, though they can be an indication of a more serious problem. Skin ulcers can form when veins cannot drain, as the skin then becomes deprived of oxygen. These ulcers can be hard to treat.

The skin overlaying the veins may become very thin, causing bleeding to occur with even a slight injury.

Phlebitis, caused by a blood clot, is associated with the inflammation of spider veins.

Blood clots can form within the inflamed vein structures, causing thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis is a serious condition if these clots travel to certain organs.

Treating Spider Veins

If you have uncomfortable symptoms from spider vein conditions, such as swelling, rashes, throbbing, itching, or skin ulcers, or if you simply want these veins removed for aesthetic reasons, there are treatments available.

A common over-the-counter or prescription treatment involves wearing compression stockings to relieve discomfort by applying pressure on your veins. This will not, however, remove the discolorations or the spider veins.

Sclerotherapy is the most common office procedure for treating spider veins. A physician such as Dr. William Johnson, MD, at The Vein Center at Johns Creek, will painlessly inject dilute sclerosants into your veins, sealing them shut. With this stoppage of blood flow, the veins fade over time. These treatments can also be performed with non-invasive lasers.

The Vein Center at Johns Creek is located in Suwanee, GA. William H. Johnson, MD is a vein specialist who uses the most modern technological advances to treat vein issues. The Vein Center at Johns Creek also serves the surrounding geographical areas of Duluth, Alpharetta, Buford, Roswell, Lilburn, Norcross, Snellville, and Dunwoody.

Note: the information discussed above should not take the place of professional medical advice. If you are concerned about spider veins, please make an appointment with Dr. Johnson or a physician in your area.