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Spider, Reticular, and Varicose Veins

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or Spider Veins?

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Spider veins are the smallest visible veins we have. Ranging from 0.2 to one millimeter, they are found on the surface of the skin and tend to look like a spider web. Spider veins most commonly appear on the face and legs.

Reticular veins are larger, and can cause a significant amount of discomfort from burning, itching, and stinging.

Varicose veins, the largest venous condition, occur beneath the surface of the skin. They can have similar symptoms to reticular veins, but may also be accompanied by fatigue, swelling, night cramping, numbness, a feeling of heaviness, and pain.

The three types of veins are caused by increased blood pressure, and can occur if valves in the veins become weakened or damaged. People with a family history of vein problems are most likely to experience venous conditions themselves, but other factors that can affect them include:

  • Pregnancy, hormones, or birth control pills
  • Sitting for prolonged periods of time or being inactive
  • Being overweight
  • Age
  • Injury

Treatment for spider and varicose veins

Though they can be harmless, the uncomfortable symptoms that may accompany vein problems can prompt someone to seek treatment. Varicose veins are especially important to treat, as they are branches of the larger veins in the body and can sometimes be signs of other problems such as interperforated veins.

Your physician at Kettering Health Network may suggest one of the following approaches to treatment:

  • Compression therapy - Varying levels of compression offer treatment for different severities:
    • Low-level compression: anyone who deals with mild swelling or fatigue of the legs during long periods of sitting or standing.
    • Medical grade compression: a therapeutic approach to relief for symptoms of venous condition.
  • Sclerotherapy - This procedure involves the injection of a concentrated saline or specially-developed solution into the spider or small varicose vein. The solution irritates the inside of the vein, and over time the vein will collapse and fade. Healthier blood vessels located nearby absorb the blood flow of the collapsed vein.
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy - Ambulatory phlebectomy involves the removal of the vein by tiny punctures or incisions along the path of the enlarged vein. Through these tiny holes, the surgeon uses a surgical hook to remove the varicose vein.
  • Electrodesiccation - This procedure involves the sealing of the veins with the use of an electrical current. Laser surgery and intense pulsed light therapy - Abnormal veins are destroyed by high-intensity laser beams or intense pulsating light.
  • Laser surgery and intense pulsed light therapy - Abnormal veins are destroyed by high-intensity laser beams or intense pulsating light.
  • Surgical ligation and stripping - This procedure involves the surgeon making an incision in the skin and removing or tying off the blood vessel. This procedure is done for severe cases of varicose veins.