There’s a good reason why people refer to those thread-like veins that appear on your legs as spider veins, given that they create a web of spindly red lines. While you may not welcome their appearance for cosmetic reasons, you’re also concerned about whether spider veins pose a threat to your health. The short answer is that, in most cases, they do not.
To help you better understand spider veins, Dr. Madaiah Revana and our team here at Humble Cardiology Associates present the following review. We explore what these veins are, whether there are any health risks associated with them, and our treatment options for spider veins.
Spider veins at a glance
The veins in your legs are responsible for returning blood to your heart for oxygen and nutrients. About 90% of this workload falls to the deep veins in your legs, which are far below the surface of your skin and nestled within your muscles. The remaining 10% of the venous work is executed by superficial veins that lie closer to the surface of your skin.
When you develop spider veins, it’s only superficial veins that are involved, which means that the circulation in your legs isn’t compromised in any meaningful way.
While no definitive cause has been recognized for spider veins, we do know that several factors can play a role, including:
- Gender — half of women develop spider veins
- Carrying extra pounds
- Prolonged sitting or standing
What many of these risk factors can lead to is a condition called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). With CVI, the valves in your veins that help push blood back toward your heart begin to weaken and fail. When this happens, blood can spill backward and engorge a vein, sending it to the surface of your skin.
With CVI, spider veins can develop, as well as their much larger cousins — varicose veins.
In an overwhelming majority of cases, spider veins don’t pose any health risk and are more of a cosmetic concern. Uncommonly, spider veins can become itchy or uncomfortable.
Treating spider veins
If you’d like to get rid of your spider veins, the good news is that we have two highly effective treatment options:
- Sclerotherapy: We inject a solution into the vein that causes it to collapse
- VeinGogh™: We destroy the spider veins with bursts of light energy
In both cases, any blood that the spider vein housed reroutes itself to healthier blood vessels.
Aside from being effective, both spider vein treatments are quick and easy, and we perform them on an outpatient basis. There’s no downtime afterward, but we do recommend that you wear compression stockings for a couple of weeks to help with the circulation in your lower legs.
If you have more questions about spider veins and your treatment options, please contact one of our offices in Humble or Houston, Texas, to schedule an appointment.