difference-between-spider-veins-and-varicose-veins

Many people notice the veins underneath their skin. This can happen due to skin damage, pale skin, or due to medical conditions like spider veins or varicose veins.

When superficial veins are visible due to injuries or pale skin, it usually is not a matter to worry about. However, if the veins are visible due to spider veins or varicose veins, the situation may be more serious than you realize.

Both conditions may look similar to each other as they affect the superficial veins but have key differences. Today, you will read about these key differences and gain a better understanding of both these conditions and how they can be treated. Let’s start!

What are Spider Veins?

Spider veins are small red, purple, or blue-colored vessels that are visible from the skin. This condition usually affects the capillaries that are the smaller blood vessels and creates a similar appearance to spider webs or tree branches. They commonly occur in the legs and face and are termed primarily as a cosmetic problem. 

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are large and swollen veins that can twist and turn. They usually appear when the valves in the blood vessels start to malfunction. These veins also appear mostly in the legs but can also occur in the pelvic region or any other part of the body. Unlike spider veins, varicose veins are a serious medical condition that can progress further and lead to life-threatening conditions such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) if left untreated for a long time. 

Read More: Are Varicose Veins Dangerous?

How are Spider Veins and Varicose Veins Related?

People think that both these conditions are similar because the root cause of these problems is the same. They are both abnormal and dilated blood vessels that form when the vein valves and walls become weak. This affects blood circulation and causes the pooling of the blood inside the veins. The blood pooling makes the veins enlarged and visible on the skin. 

There are a variety of factors that can put you at risk of developing spider or varicose veins. These factors include- 

  • Heredity
  • Obesity
  • Hormonal imbalance or fluctuations due to pregnancy, puberty, or menopause
  • Use of birth control pills
  • Postmenopausal hormone replacement
  • History of blood clots
  • Occupation that involves prolonged standing
  • Medical problems that increase pressure in the abdomen or lower part of the body, such as constipation.

As you can see from the above factors, women are more prone to developing vein problems as compared to men. The risk also increases with age. As 30 to 60% of adults have these problems.

Key Difference Between Spider Veins & Varicose Veins

The only similarity between spider veins and varicose veins is the cause. Other than that, the two conditions are very different from each other. Look at the table below and understand the difference- 

Spider VeinsVaricose Veins
  • Spider veins are tiny blue or red lines that are only visible under the skin surface.
  • They are twisted bulging veins that can be seen and felt under the skin surface.
  • They usually don’t cause swelling or painful symptoms.
  • Varicose veins can cause pain sometimes along with a feeling of heaviness, discomfort, and swelling.
  • Spider veins are usually a cosmetic concern and don’t turn into varicose veins.
  • It is a genuine medical concern as there are chances of blood clot formation if left untreated for a long time.

If you seek help from a healthcare professional at the right time, both these conditions can be treated in a minimally invasive manner.

What are the Treatment Options for Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?

Fortunately, there are various treatment methods available that can help to treat spider veins and varicose veins effectively. These methods are explained below- 

Compression Stocking

Also known as support stockings, this is the most conservative approach towards treating spider and varicose veins. They apply pressure on the legs gently to keep the blood moving in the upward direction. Thus, the swelling in the legs caused by blood pooling subsides and the patient gets relief from the pain and discomfort. 

You can buy compression stockings from any pharmacy or healthcare supply store. 

Also Read: Stockings Really Help Prevent Varicose Veins

Lifestyle Changes

Skin hygiene, overall body weight, physical activities, and diet are the key changes that you will need in your life to get rid of spider veins and varicose veins. 

Some other changes that you will have to make in your daily life are- 

  • Avoid standing or sitting for long periods without breaks 
  • Do not wear high heels for long periods. 
  • Elevate your legs while sleeping, resting, or sitting. 
  • Avoid crossing your legs at the knees or ankles. 
  • Don’t forget to engage in physical activities that improve blood circulation throughout the body. 

Many people don’t realize that some activities that they subconsciously perform can disrupt the blood flow and may also affect the blood vessels. Therefore, if you have symptoms like leg pain or swelling in the legs within visible veins, talk to the experts and take the necessary precautions. 

Read More: Top 10 ways to prevent varicose veins

Sclerotherapy

It is a non-invasive procedure that can alleviate the symptoms caused by varicose veins and make spider veins disappear as well. This method has both medical and cosmetic benefits. 

The therapy involves using a highly concentrated saline solution that is injected directly into the veins to create scar tissue and close the vein. Once the vein collapses, it disappears over the next 3 to 6 weeks and the other symptoms also go away. Sclerotherapy is a simple and relatively inexpensive procedure to treat spider veins and varicose veins.

Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy (EVLT)

This is also a minimally invasive procedure in which a small laser fiber is used to close the vein. The laser probe is inserted into the vein by making a tiny cut near the vein. The laser is activated and the probe is extracted slowly from the vein. The heat emitting from the laser will ablate (closes) the vein and the condition will be resolved.

EVLT is also a safe and complication-free procedure that effectively resolves the vein problem.

Radiofrequency Ablation

This method is generally used for varicose veins as spider veins can be eliminated with the above procedures. 

A small catheter is inserted directly into the vein and the catheter delivers radiofrequency energy to the vein wall. It heats up the vein and collapses them permanently. The closed veins are left inside as they won’t cause any other problem. 

The procedure is carried out in a clinic or a hospital on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia. 

Surgical Treatment

While spider veins can be treated without surgery, in many cases, varicose veins may require surgical treatment. There are different types of surgical procedures as well to close the swollen and bulging veins. 

  • Ligation and Stripping- Tying off the vein and removing the entire segment of the vein through small incisions in the skin.
  • Endoscopic Vein Surgery– An endoscope is used to identify the varicose vein and to close it.
  • Ambulatory Phlebectomy- Involves removal of the veins that are spread over a large surface through very small incisions. It is performed in multiple steps by removing the vein segment by segment.

The purpose of all these treatment methods is to ensure that malfunctioning veins don’t cause further problems and impact the regular life of the individual.

Get in Touch with Pristyn Care for Advanced Treatment of Vascular Conditions

If you have recently noticed that there are veins bulging out from your skin and you want them to go away, get in touch with Pristyn Care and let our expert vascular surgeons help you out. 

We provide both medical and surgical treatment for vein problems, including spider veins and varicose veins.

Some people hesitate to seek treatment for these conditions believing that it might be expensive. And generally, symptomatic varicose veins treatment is covered under insurance but spider veins treatment may not be covered as it is usually a cosmetic problem. With Pristyn Care, you won’t have to worry about the treatment expenses as they can be divided into easy installments through our No-Cost EMI service and can be paid over the course of 9/12 months.

Do not hesitate and book a free consultation with the best vascular surgeons at Pristyn Care to seek advanced treatment.

Also Read: What is the Cost of Varicose Veins Treatment?

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