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Reticular & Spider Veins

What are reticular and spider veins?

Spider VeinsReticular and spider veins are used to describe the red or blue colored short, jagged lines just under the skin that appear linear, branch-like or may look like a spider. Although spider veins are not usually symptomatic, the accompanying reticular veins, found deeper in the skin, often cause discomfort. Reticular veins are also referred to as "feeder" veins.

These vessels are smaller branches which can originate from bigger varicose veins. This is "tip of the iceberg" and is sometimes the only cosmetic indicator of extensive varicose vein disease deep in the skin.

What causes reticular and spider veins?

A number of factors predispose a person to spider veins. These include:

  • Heredity
  • Occupations that involve a lot of standing, such as nurses, beauticians, teachers, and factory workers
  • Excessive body weight
  • Hormonal changes
  • The use of birth control pills
  • Postmenopausal hormonal replacement
  • A history of blood clots
  • Sun exposure, which can cause spider veins on the cheeks or nose of a fair-skinned person

What are the consequences of reticular and spider veins?
Spider veins are rarely a serious health problem, but they can cause uncomfortable feelings in the legs such as itching or burning. Less often, spider veins can be a sign of blood backup deeper inside the leg that cannot be seen under the skin.

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How are reticular/spider veins diagnosed?
An ultrasound exam will evaluate the health of your veins.
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