What Are Spider Veins?

Spider veins are small blood vessels that result from excess pressure in a vein. When pressure is elevated, the vein walls are forced to stretch and contort. This creates a varicose vein. An overburdened vein can also develop new branches from the pressure, and these are called spider veins. Veins are supposed to pump blood back to the heart to collect oxygen. But spider veins are like dead ends for circulation. If you can see them through your skin, you’ll notice that they don’t lead back to the heart. So, it’s safe to close off spider veins. Blood will then flow into other veins nearby that can pump it back to the heart. It might sound serious to close a vein, but the human body has millions of miles of blood vessels. Spider veins aren’t useful to the circulatory system. Getting rid of them can improve blood flow and enhance the appearance of your skin. Book an appointment with our New Jersey vein doctors to learn more.

What are spider veins, and what causes them? Those colorful blood vessels signify excess pressure on the veins. Here’s what causes them and how to get rid of them.

Why Do They Look Like Spiders or Spider Webs?

Spider veins got their name from their appearance. Some of them look like spiders, and others look like spider webs. The reason is that there’s often a central point of origin from which the blood trails off in various directions. This gives the resemblance of a spider’s body with spindly legs, or a spider web with a center and several thin lines circling it. Spider veins tend to occur in the legs where it’s common for veins to endure extra pressure. Leg veins must pump blood against gravity while resisting our body weight to get back to the heart. So, they’re more prone to backward blood flow, which causes pressure that creates spider veins.

What Causes Spider Veins?

Spider veins have several causes, but when they’re found in the legs, they often signify Chronic Venous Insufficiency. This is a common, underdiagnosed condition in which vein valves fail to seal tightly. The result is that blood flows in reverse and accumulates beneath the faulty valve. This causes both spider veins and varicose veins. Other sources of venous pressure that can produce spider veins include pregnancy, menopause, obesity, inactivity, hormone fluctuations, sun damage, extreme temperatures, and skin injuries.

What Are My Risk Factors for Spider Veins?

Spider veins are very common, and they aren’t completely preventable. If they run in your family, you might get them, no matter which preventative measures you try. However, certain lifestyles contribute to them, so there are things you can do to minimize your risk factors.

  • Women get more spider veins than men.
  • A family history of spider veins increases your risk.
  • Pregnancy increases the incidence of spider veins.
  • Aging weakens vein walls, making spider veins more likely.
  • Menopause contributes to spider veins.
  • Birth control usage and hormone replacement therapy increase your risk.
  • Gaining weight puts pressure on veins, which can cause spider veins.
  • Inactivity reduces muscle contractions, allowing blood to pool and cause spider veins.
  • Sitting or standing for long periods of time can create spider veins.

How Do Vein Doctors Treat Spider Veins?

There are several safe spider vein treatment options. Surgical removal of spider veins is no longer recommended for most patients. Vein doctors can now treat spider veins in the office in 15 minutes. Patients can walk around right away and even drive themselves to and from the appointment. Most people can resume their usual routine and exercise with moderation after treatment. There is no downtime for recovery and no stitches or other hassles.

Patients don’t need general anesthesia, so they can leave as soon as the treatment is complete. Many patients seek treatment during their workday and head right back to the office. Our spider vein treatments are quick, gentle, and discreet, with no large wounds or scars. The best treatment method depends on your veins, symptoms, and medical history. Here are some spider vein treatments we recommend.

  • Sclerotherapy– Vein doctors inject a sclerosing solution into the vein to irritate the vein walls, which prompts the vein to close. Sclerotherapy is considered the best method for most small to medium spider veins.
  • Vein Adhesives– Vein specialists inject cyanoacrylate glue into the vein to close it. This is the same type of glue that’s used in many cardiac procedures and to stop bleeding in other types of surgery.
  • Radiofrequency Ablation– Vein doctors heat the vein with radiofrequency to create scar tissue that closes the vein. Since this is a thermal procedure, doctors will inject a local anesthetic around the vein first to act as a buffer for adjacent tissue.
  • Mechanochemical Ablation– Vein specialists inject a sclerosing solution into the vein and also rotate the catheter through which it’s injected. This breaks down the vein’s walls both chemically and mechanically to ensure its closure. 

Will Spider Veins Go Away If You Wear Compression Stockings?

Do you need to treat your spider veins, or can you wear compression stockings and try home remedies? Only a vein doctor can determine whether your spider veins require treatment. The cause, symptoms, and severity are all part of that decision. If your spider veins are caused by Chronic Venous Insufficiency, you’ll likely develop worsening symptoms and more spider veins and varicose veins until it’s addressed. Our New Jersey vein doctors treat Chronic Venous Insufficiency within minutes, using minimally invasive procedures.

If you have symptoms like heaviness, swelling, cramping, or restlessness in your legs, you might have Chronic Venous Insufficiency. If your symptoms have progressed to include slow-healing venous ulcerations, venous stasis dermatitis, or profuse bleeding when the vein is scraped, you need to seek prompt treatment. Each of these can become serious if you develop an infection or blood loss. You can also develop permanent hyperpigmentation if you delay treatment.

Compression stockings are useful for some patients for specific periods of time. For instance, certain patients need them for a few days after vein treatment to encourage blood flow. But it’s important to ask a doctor first and have the doctor fit you if you need them. Choosing your own compression stockings off the shelf could cause too much or too little pressure. If you have skin complications like ulcerations or dermatitis from your veins, compression stockings might not be advised for you. The best way to quickly eliminate unhealthy veins is a minimally invasive vein treatment. Book your consultation today to learn which treatments are recommended for you.