Spiders. Veins. Spider Veins. Separate or alone, nobody likes them.
They can be a big source of discomfort and insecurity for many, though they are usually harmless. That said, understanding spider veins, what they truly are, how they form, and what you can do about them might give you some comfort.
Here to teach us all about spider veins is Dr. Joshua Tepper.
About Dr. Joshua Tepper
Dr. Joshua Tepper is a Board Certified Diagnostic Radiologist and fellowship trained Interventional Radiologist. He specializes in minimally invasive vascular procedures with a passion for lower extremity venous interventions including varicose vein ablation. He is proficient in a multitude of other procedures including uterine fibroid embolization, chemoembolization, dialysis intervention, and kyphoplasty.
Dr. Tepper earned his medical degree at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine where he also trained as a General Surgery Intern. He completed his Diagnostic Radiology Residency and Fellowship in Vascular and Interventional Radiology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
He has been on the medical staff at Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet since July 2010. He is a member of the Internal Review Board (IRB), Cancer Committee, and is Director of the Vein Clinic. He is the principal investigator at Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center for the EVOLVE research trial on kyphoplasty.
What are spider veins?
Spider veins are dilated, tiny veins in the skin that appear as threadlike, serpentine, red or blue lines. The lines, when clustered together have a web-like appearance, thus their unfortunate name.
Some spider veins are barely noticeable while others may be more prominent.
Where do you usually get spider veins?
These veins are most common on the thighs, ankles, and calves, though they can also appear in other places.
Women luck out and are more likely to earn these badges of honor more often than men.
What causes spider veins?
Spider veins are the result of blood pooling in the veins near the surface of the skin.
Some cases of spider veins are related to pregnancy, use of birth control pills, genetics, or weight gain. If your parent/s have spider veins, you’re likely to develop them later in life as well.
Are spider veins dangerous?
Although these small veins may make you feel self-conscious, they are—when isolated and in the absence of true varicose veins—harmless.
How to Treat Spider Veins
Treatment of spider veins is elective and for cosmetic purposes, since they don’t really pose harm. The treatment involves direct injection with a tiny needle of a sclerosant (chemical irritant) that destroys the vein wall lining and causes the veins to spasm/collapse.
The small veins will eventually fade over a period of weeks.
Sclerotherapy may require multiple treatments. The risks and pain associated with the procedure are minimal and there is no downtime.