Varicose vs Spider Veins

Varicose Veins vs Spider Veins

Although patients often use the terms Spider Veins and Varicose Veins interchangeably, these are two separate, albeit often related, issues with the health of your venous system. Spider Veins and Varicose Veins are similar in that they are both unsightly, but easily treatable.  However this is where their similarities end.

Spider Veins

  • Cosmetic in nature, even though they can be symptomatic and, even, an indicator of more severe underlying vein problems.
  • Typically measure less than one millimeter in diameter, and unless clustered together, are typically not as noticeable to the naked eye as bulging varicose veins.
  • Thread-like, red, blue or purplish lines on the skin surface, often times resembling a bruise when they do occur in clusters together.
  • Treated, primarily, with sclerotherapy injections, the “gold standard” of care in the treatment of spider veins, but now best treated in conjunction with laser treatment Series of three to six treatments typically required, spaced apart four to six weeks.
  • Treatment considered cosmetic and not covered by insurance.

Varicose Veins

  • Medical in nature, generally a symptom of a deeper, underlying issue in the venous system.
  • Large, dilated, bulging veins protruding above the level of the skin, often looking like bluish rope underneath the skin. These bulging veins tend to be associated with symptoms of pain, heaviness, swelling and aching in the leg.
  • Treated, after an initial consultation and ultrasound, via in-office endovenous laser ablation, often in conjunction with ambulatory phlebectomy and endovenous chemical ablation, depending on the severity and source of the diseased veins.
  • Treatment is covered by insurance if the patient is symptomatic or had had complications, and the ultrasound shows venous reflux (backwards flow of blood in veins).

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