Spider and Reticular Veins

Reticular veins are larger than spider veins, yet smaller than varicose veins, are blue-green or purple in color, and can form clusters of veins on the inner thighs, ankles, or on the back of the legs. They may or may not extend beyond the skin’s surface, but are commonly accompanied by pain and discomfort. Often times, reticular veins are responsible for supplying blood flow to the much smaller spider veins, which means spider veins cannot adequately be treated without first treating reticular veins.

What Causes Reticular Veins?

Reticular veins occur when poor circulation causes blood to pool, resulting in bulging veins. Although the exact cause for this poor circulation is not known, there are a few theories. The first possible cause is that weak or absent valves in the veins may not adequately prevent the backflow of blood away from the heart. Another possible cause is that veins with weak walls may result in the pooling of blood. A final cause is that reticular veins can be the result of a venous disease called phlebitis, or inflammation of the veins. Some other possible causes include:

  • Heredity. Having a family member with prominent veins may increase the risk of you developing them. Approximately half of the people who get varicose veins have a family history of them.
  • Age. The normal wear and tear of aging may cause valves in the veins to weaken and not work as well.
  • Gender. Women are two to three times more likely to develop varicose veins than men. Up to half of American women have varicose veins. Changes in hormones due to puberty, pregnancy, menopause, or taking birth control pills may increase a woman’s risk of developing varicose veins.
  • Pregnancy. During pregnancy, the growth of the fetus increases the pressure on the veins in the legs. Varicose veins that occur during pregnancy usually improve within 3 to 12 months following delivery.
  • Overweight and obesity. Having extra weight on the body can put additional pressure on the veins.
  • Prolonged standing or sitting. This is particularly true with legs bent or crossed. When standing or sitting with legs bent or crossed, the veins have to work harder to pump the blood up to the heart. Other possible causes for varicose veins are race, posture, occupation, hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, primary vein’s valvular incompetence, and incompetent perforating veins.

When Should I Notify Dr. Manrique?

Generally speaking, reticular veins are primarily a cosmetic problem and will not negatively affect your health. In some severe cases, such as those involving ulcers, treatment may be needed to protect your health. However while they will not usually affect your health, you should notify Dr. Manrique if you feel they are a cosmetic problem that you would like to treat.

What Treatment Does Dr. Manrique Perform at the Office?

Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure done by Dr. Manrique to treat uncomplicated spider veins and uncomplicated reticular veins. The treatment involves the injection of Asclera® (polidocanol) into the affected veins, causing them to scar and redirect blood flow to healthier veins. Without adequate blood flow, the scarred vein then collapses and is reabsorbed into the surrounding tissue, resulting in the fading of varicose and spider veins.

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