At the bottom of your body, your legs bear your weight and are under pressure. Gravity is always pulling blood down, and then that blood must be pumped back up to complete its circuit through your body. Damage to leg veins can lead to a spidery appearance of faint-colored lines on your legs.
At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine in Ramsey, New Jersey, our board-certified vein specialist will assess your vein condition and recommend the best treatment for spider and/ or varicose veins.
Causes of spider veins
Spider veins are among the smallest visible veins in your body. Blood flows one way through them, through a series of tiny valves that prevent blood from flowing the opposite direction in between heartbeats. When a valve starts to fail, a small bit of blood can leak backward and pool, making these little veins visible through the skin as squiggly lines of red or purple.
Difference between spider veins and varicose veins
Spider veins aren't typically dangerous, but they can forecast a pattern of vein failure. Varicose veins present when the larger veins in your legs that transport blood back to the heart experience valve failure. Spider veins don’t typically cause side effects, but varicose veins can itch, burn, hurt, cause your legs to swell or ache, or lead to feelings of heaviness or restlessness in your legs.
With varicose veins, the vein is wide enough that the blood pools in a much larger amount than in a spider vein. This can cause a ropey appearance usually on the calf, as the vein bulges out from the leg. Varicose veins put you at increased risk for a blood clot, which can travel to your lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism.
Treatment for spider veins
We treat spider veins with sclerotherapy. First, we’ll use a tiny needle to inject a "sclerosing" substance. This causes the walls of the vein to collapse and seal shut, diverting blood flow to a nearby, healthier vein. Over time, your body breaks down the dead vein and flushes the waste out of your system naturally.
For varicose veins, we usually recommend radiofrequency ablation (RFA) instead of sclerotherapy. RFA also will close off the vein and channel the blood flow to a healthy vein. If you have both spider veins and varicose veins, you can have both sclerotherapy and RFA.
Are you ready to get rid of your spider veins? Contact our office at 201-962-9199, or request a consultation online today.