Spider Veins or Varicose Veins: How to Tell the Difference

Varicose veins and spider veins often get confused, as both types of veins can become visibly evident and create a cosmetic concern. However, accurate diagnosis of the veins is important, since the cause and treatment options for the veins can vary. If you are distressed by colorful lines or bulging ropes that have appeared on your legs or other areas of your body, now is the time to identify those veins and determine the most effective treatment for your condition.

What are Spider Veins?
Spider veins tend to appear in a grouping or network that resembles a spider’s web. The visible veins may be red, blue or purple and can appear on the legs, abdomen or face. Like larger varicose veins, spider veins may be caused by an underlying condition known as venous insufficiency. Other possible causes for spider veins include skin trauma, sun damage and hormonal fluctuations.

Spider veins are generally superficial, meaning they are close to the skin’s surface. Their location allows spider veins to be treated with non-invasive laser procedures or minimally-invasive injectable procedures known as sclerotherapy. While treatment for spider veins is considered permanent, it is not unusual to develop new spider vein networks in the approximate location of the original vessels, which may need additional treatment to eliminate.

What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins tend to be much larger than spider veins, often protruding above the surface of the skin. These veins may also be blue or purple, but they can also be flesh-colored. Varicose veins are nearly always caused by venous insufficiency and may worsen over time if they are left unchecked. Advancement of the condition may result in uncomfortable symptoms like aching legs, swelling and even skin changes around where the swollen vessels are located.

Treatment for varicose veins typically involves state-of-the-art technology that can address veins further beneath the skin’s surface without surgery. Lasers and radiofrequency energy can be used to penetrate far below the skin’s surface to destroy affected veins so they may be reabsorbed by the body. These innovative treatments effectively eliminate swollen veins with minimal disruption to your daily routine.

Customizable Treatments for All Your Vein Conditions
At PCI Vein Center, we offer a variety of treatments for both spider and varicose veins that allow us to customize treatment to the unique concerns of each of our patients. All of our treatments involve little discomfort and patients are generally back to regular activities the same day or the day after treatment. To learn more about your options in vein treatments, contact PCI Vein Center at 319-774-8432.


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