Illinois Vein Specialists explains the differences between varicose and spider veins


While varicose veins and spider veins are similar when it comes to being a nuisance, they differ in appearance.  

While varicose veins tend to be swollen, raised above the surface of the skin, and dark in color, spider veins are generally smaller, red or blue in color, and closer to the surface of the skin.  

But just because spider veins are smaller doesn’t mean they’re still not a menace.  

“Although they may not pose any health risk, they can be unsightly or cause significant leg discomfort after prolonged standing,” said Dr. Stephen Rivard, founder and medical director of Illinois Vein Specialists.  

He said spider veins are the most common vein problem and typically occur more frequently in women. They may occur in 80 percent of women over age 40.  

In about 25 percent of patients with spider veins, Rivard said there could be some form of underlying vein disease, i.e. varicose veins, particularly if the spider veins are located near the ankles.  

“Therefore, if you do have spider veins you should not hesitate to seek the proper diagnosis and treatment from a board  certified venous and lymphatic specialist,”  ,” he said.  

Treatments for varicose and spider veins vary.  

For varicose vein removal, laser therapy can be done in the office under local anesthetic.  

Most spider veins are treated via sclerotherapy, a technique in which a very fine needle injects a solution directly into the veins causing the vein lining to seal preventing blood flow. The veins are then absorbed by the body and disappear.  

“New technology has virtually eliminated the need to use surgery in the treatment of surface veins,” Rivard said. “Non-surgical laser treatments allow for fast, pain-free treatments requiring minimal recovery time.”  

Illinois Vein Specialists | 22285 N Pepper Rd, Lake Barrington, IL 60010 | 847.277.9100 |www.illinoisveinspecialists.com 

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