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Spider Veins

(Idiopathic Telangiectasias)

By

James D. Douketis

, MD, McMaster University

Last full review/revision Feb 2021| Content last modified Feb 2021
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
Topic Resources

Spider veins are small, enlarged veins that are visible under the skin.

Appearance of Spider Veins

Spider veins may be caused by the pressure from blood in varicose veins, but the cause is generally thought to be hormonal factors that are not yet understood. A hormonal cause would explain why spider veins most commonly occur in women, particularly during pregnancy.

Spider veins usually cause no symptoms. Some people do have pain or burning. Many people consider spider veins unsightly. Doctors recognize spider veins by their appearance. Tests are not needed.

Treatment of Spider Veins

  • Injection therapy (sclerotherapy)

Spider veins can usually be eliminated by injection therapy Injection therapy (sclerotherapy) Varicose veins are abnormally enlarged superficial veins in the legs. Varicose veins may ache or cause itching or a sensation of tiredness. Doctors can detect varicose veins by examining the... read more Injection therapy (sclerotherapy) (sclerotherapy) similar to that done for varicose veins Varicose Veins Varicose veins are abnormally enlarged superficial veins in the legs. Varicose veins may ache or cause itching or a sensation of tiredness. Doctors can detect varicose veins by examining the... read more Varicose Veins . In sclerotherapy, a solution, such as sodium tetradecyl sulfate, is injected into each of the spider veins to irritate them and produce a blood clot that blocks them. Large areas of spider veins (multiple telangiectasias) may require several treatments because the injections are painful. The skin may darken, but this discoloration usually subsides, often completely.

Laser treatment is also effective, but large areas require several treatments. This therapy uses a laser beam to destroy the small veins.

Small spider veins may persist or recur after initial treatment.

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