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2016-10-12

What are Varicose Veins & Spider Veins?

Image Credit: Peshkova/Shutterstock

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between varicose veins and spider veins? Although they are a different in appearance, they are actually quite similar in their causes. Explore our blog to find out what varicose and spider veins are, their causes and treatment options that are available through Via Vascular!

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are swollen, twisted veins that show up under the surface of the skin. Although they most commonly occur in the legs, they can form in other parts of the body as well.  Varicose veins are a common condition that tends to affect women more often than men. It is estimated that between 30 to 60 percent of adults have varicose veins. Varicose veins can cause bothersome symptoms such as aching or cramping in the legs, as well as tiredness, restlessness, burning, or heaviness.

Spider Veins

Unlike varicose veins, spider veins are smaller discolored veins that have a spider web-like appearance. These veins are usually not painful and can be treated cosmetically. Spider veins are closer to the skin than varicose veins and are often found in areas behind the knee, but can also appear anywhere on the body.

What are the Causes?

Varicose veins and spider veins occur when the veins are not functioning properly. Many factors can aggravate and cause varicose veins and spider veins such as:

  • Work environment: standing or sitting for long periods of time
  • Heredity: family history of varicose or spider veins
  • Hormonal influences: use of birth control pills, pregnancy, puberty or menopause
  • Chronic heart valve conditions
  • A history of blood clots
  • Obesity: adds weight to the body & increases the pressure on the legs
  • Conditions that cause increased pressure in the abdomen: tumors, constipation, girdles

Treatment Options

For spider veins, sclerotherapy is the most common method used as treatment. It involves injecting a small volume of liquid into the affected vein. This liquid acts upon the lining of the vein to cause it to close and eliminates the vein completely. At Via Vascular, sclerotherapy is a painless, minimally-invasive treatment that is safe and effective. This procedure improves the cosmetic appearance of spider veins as well as relieves the patient from symptoms associated with spider veins.

There are some minimally invasive procedures that are available when it comes to treating varicose veins. Via Vascular offers endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) as well as microphlebectomy, which provide effective treatment and do not require a hospital stay. EVLT has shown a 98% success rate and seals off the diseased veins by using a thin laser fiber to eliminate the source of varicose veins. Microphlebectomy is used to remove larger surface varicose veins and is less invasive than surgical stripping.

About Via Vascular

Do you have varicose or spider veins? Trust the experts at Via Vascular. Our doctors offer minimally invasive varicose vein treatment and spider vein treatment. Schedule an appointment today to find out if you are a candidate for treatment by calling Via Vascular at (206) 525-8346 or by filling out our online contact form.

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