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Spider Veins

Identify the symptoms, treat the cause.

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Overview  |  Symptoms  |  Causes  |  Treatment & Diagnosis

What are spider veins?

Small veins just under the surface of the skin indicate underlying disease.

Spider veins are tiny, thin veins that vary in color and that you can see just under the surface of your skin. They’re so named because they remind us of spider webs, and are also sometimes described as looking like marble.

Symptoms of Spider Veins

Spider veins are a mild symptom of varicose veins disease. Aside from an unpleasant appearance, you may experience some discomfort.

Spider Vein Illustration

  • Appearance
    Small, thread-like; color varies
  • Location
    Usually leg veins, sometimes chest, facial or hand veins
  • Severity
    Can vary from cosmetic to symptomatic affecting one’s quality of life
  • Discomfort
    May cause discomfort

What causes spider veins?

Malfunctioning valves in feeder veins are the underlying cause.

Spider veins in the leg, hand, and face are caused by unhealthy valves inside feeder veins, allowing blood to flow backwards instead of upwards toward the heart. Some of this backed-up blood can lead to non-functional, “dead end” veins that appear underneath the surface of the skin as spider veins. Watch the video below and learn more about spider veins and the available treatment options.


Spider veins are tiny varicose veins that appear as thin, squiggly lines just under the skin. They are common on the legs and the face, and most frequently affect women.


Spider veins occur when blood pools in veins near the surface of the skin. They can be caused by heredity, obesity, trauma, and fluctuations in hormone levels. In many cases, the exact cause is not known. They tend to become more numerous with age, and are common among people over 30 and in pregnant women. Menopause or birth control pills may increase the risk.


Spider veins may form a web-like pattern of red, blue or purple lines in the skin. They can also cause the skin to darken. People who have spider veins in the legs may feel a dull aching or burning sensation when they stand for prolonged periods of time. Some women may notice that their symptoms worsen during certain parts of their menstrual cycle.


Most cases of spider veins do not require treatment, but there are many options for patients with cosmetic concerns or painful symptoms. Spider veins can be treated with compression stockings, laser therapy, or sclerotherapy. Regular exercise and weight control may help prevent the development and progression of spider veins.

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Who Gets Spider Veins?

Men and women of all ages develop spider veins.

Many of us will eventually encounter vein health issues. It’s usually hereditary, so if your parents or grandparents have or had spider veins, you are more likely to develop them as well. If you become pregnant or have a job or lifestyle that requires standing for long periods of time, this may make them worse, or increase the probability of getting them.

Spider Vein Diagnosis & Treatment

Quick, effective outpatient visits treat the root cause of spider veins.

Some of our patients seek treatment for cosmetic improvement, and others are looking for relief from pain. The good news is that spider veins and their underlying cause are quite treatable, and our comprehensive approach at Vein Clinics of America handles the entirety of vein disease–not just the symptoms of it.

There are two main spider vein treatment procedures–UGFS and VGS–both are quick, minimally invasive, and require no hospitalization. Treatment is designed to seal off any feeder veins with unhealthy valves. Once those veins are sealed, blood circulation returns to veins with properly working valves, and dead-end spider veins are eventually absorbed back into the body.

Learn more about Sclerotherapy >

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