Dr. Z's Patient Education

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Visible veins on your legs are referred to as spider veins or reticular veins, and are defined medically by size. Spider veins are small blue to red veins of the skin, and are located primarily on the feet, ankles and legs. They can sometimes be seen on the chest, arms, abdomen and face.

Spider veins are inherited, and may represent a more serious underlying abnormal circulation problem. Standing for long periods of time and standing on hard surfaces such as cement will often exacerbate a preexisting condition. If not corrected, spider veins always become more abundant and unsightly. Leg veins are genetic and can be found on approximately 70% of females and 40% of males.

A popular method of closing down or obliterating spider veins is Sclerotherapy. A sclerosing agent is injected via a tiny needle into the veins, which causes sclerosis or irritation of the lining of the vessel that leads to its closure. Much like resolution of a bruise, this process causes a gradual fading of the vessel over a period of several weeks to several months.