The Difference Between Spider and Varicose Veins (And How We Can Eliminate Them Both)

The veins in your legs are among those under the most pressure in your entire body. When they are compromised, they can have trouble returning blood to your heart against the power of gravity. Over time, spider veins and varicose veins can become more pronounced, and you'll want to seek treatment.

At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine in Ramsey, New Jersey, our board-certified vein specialist can evaluate your vein condition and recommend the best treatment for spider and/ or varicose veins.  

Spider veins are typically minor and cosmetic

Spider veins are among the smallest visible veins in our bodies. When they stop being able to transport blood effectively, they become visible through the skin as red or purple squiggly lines. Spider veins aren't typically dangerous, but they can make you self-conscious about your legs and in some cases can herald a pattern of vein failure. 

At our office, we treat spider veins with sclerotherapy. Your doctor will use a tiny needle to inject a "sclerosing" substance that makes the walls of these tiny veins collapse. The blood flow will be naturally redirected by your body to nearby healthy veins, and the old vein will slowly dissolve and be flushed out of your body by your lymphatic system.   

Varicose veins can be larger and more serious

Varicose veins are larger veins in your legs that funnel blood back to the heart. Sometimes the one-way valves inside these veins fail, causing blood to backflow and pool up. The result is a bulged, knotted, or twisted-looking vein that is raised up from the leg. You might have symptoms with varicose veins, including:

If you have varicose veins, you can be at increased risk for a blood clot, which can travel to your lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism. To treat varicose veins, your doctor may recommend radiofrequency ablation (RFA) to close off the vein and reroute the blood flow to a healthy vein. Over time, the closed-off vein will also collapse and dissolve, much like a treated spider vein.

It's possible to have both varicose and spider veins. Many patients have RFA treatment followed by sclerotherapy to complete the rerouting of blood flow in the legs, relieve symptoms, and create a better cosmetic appearance.  

Are you ready to get treatment for your varicose or spider veins? Contact our office at 201-962-9199, or request a consultation online today. 

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