An estimated 50-55% of women and 40-45% of men have spider veins, those spindly veins in your legs that rise toward the surface of your skin. While not as obvious as their close cousins, varicose veins, spider veins can also become a cosmetic nuisance.
In this month’s blog post, Dr. Ariel Soffer and the team here at Soffer Health Institute are going to focus on troublesome spider veins — why they develop and what we can do about them.
Behind the web
The first thing to understand about spider veins, which are medically known as telangiectasia, is that these veins are mostly harmless and don’t pose any issues beyond cosmetic ones.
Spider veins develop for many reasons, including:
- Taking hormones (namely estrogen) that dilate your blood vessels
- Trauma to your superficial blood vessels
- Prolonged sitting or standing that leads to an increase in venous pressure
- Sun exposure
- Pregnancy (hormones again)
- Genetics — spider veins tend to run in families
We also want to draw your attention to a specific venous issue that can make you far more prone to issues like varicose and spider veins — chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
The veins in your legs rely on tiny valves that shut after blood passes through, which prevents the blood from spilling backward. With CVI, these valves weaken and don’t shut all the way, blood can pool in a superficial vein in your leg and force it toward the surface of your skin.
No matter what’s causing your spider veins, we want to point out that this venous condition occurs in the superficial veins in your legs, which are only responsible for carrying about 10% of the blood back to your heart. The heavier lifting for circulation of blood is performed by deep veins in your legs.
As a result, most spider veins don’t pose any serious health risk. In less common cases, spider veins can become itchy or uncomfortable, and you should come see us any time your spider veins become symptomatic.
Clearing the web
If you have spider veins that pose a cosmetic concern for you, the good news is that we can easily treat them. If the spider veins are small, we can use laser light therapy that breaks up the vein, allowing your body to flush away the debris. Rest assured, if the treated spider vein was active, your blood will reroute itself to other vessels.
If you have larger spider veins that don’t respond to laser therapy, we can try the same minimally invasive techniques we use for varicose veins. With these techniques, we either block, destroy, or remove the problematic veins using only a needle or very small incisions.
If you’d like to figure out the best approach for clearing your legs of spider veins, please contact one our offices in Weston, or Aventura, Florida, to set up an appointment.