Spider veins can be early signs of ‘venous insufficiency’. As we age, the valves in our legs that help move blood from the legs to the heart weaken and blood pools in the vessels in the legs as a result of gravity. The vessels become engorged and spider veins and varicose veins result.
Usually varicose veins are a cosmetic concern, but when paired with severe venous insufficiency, can cause symptoms and ulcerations that can be very debilitating for patients. Venous insufficiency can also worsen other medical conditions that cause ulcers on the legs, like livedoid vasulopathy.
Some dermatologists perform a procedure called “endovenous laser ablation” (EVLA). A laser is inserted into one of the big veins in the legs and fired. The laser heats up the vein and collapses it completely, thereby eliminating the pooled blood. It is an effective treatment for venous insufficiency. My academic work had also shown That EVLA can help other conditions associated with leg ulcers as well!
For most of us, wearing compression socks is enough for preventing the spider veins from getting worse!
Contact Maggie Chow, MD, PhD or any of SBC’s Board Certified providers to answer any skin related questions you may have.