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Understanding Spider Veins and Varicose Veins

Spider Veins

Spider veins are small clusters of red, blue or purple veins that appear on the thighs, calves and ankles. They are often known as “roadmap veins,” since they resemble the lines on a map. Unfortunately, these veins become larger and worsen over time. If these tiny veins annoy or bother you, rest assure that you are not alone. The good news is there is something that you can do about it.

Sclerotherapy is the preferred procedure to correct spider veins. Sclerotherapy is performed when a physician injects a solution directly into the afflicted vein. The solution is meant to irritate the lining of the vessel, causing it to swell and stick together, over time the vessel transforms into scar tissue and that tissue is no longer visible.

Varicose Veins

Spider veins are often considered to be purely cosmetic from an insurance perspective.

Varicose veins are much more noticeable and are larger in appearance than spider veins. They are raised above the skin’s surface and look similar to a rope in appearance. Varicose veins can be considered both cosmetic and a medical condition; usually veins smaller than 3mm are considered cosmetic, while those larger than 3mm are considered to be a medical impediment.

Superficial venous reflux disease is the number one cause for varicose veins. Venous reflux is caused by “leaky” valves in the vein. Veins have one way valves which direct the blood back to the heart; when the valves are working properly blood flows up in the direction of the heart. When the valves are leaky the blood flows in the direction of the feet.

A venous ultrasound evaluation can determine if you are suffering from venous reflux disease.

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Most varicose veins and spider veins will not require surgery and can be treated at an affordable fee. Some conditions that are medical related will usually covered by insurance. See the Vein Therapy FAQ and Medical vs Cosmetic for more information.

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Dayton OH Cosmetic Surgeon Dr. Raymond Wolf