Varicose Veins vs. Spider Veins

They certainly look different but varicose veins and spider veins share many common characteristics. Both are related to damaged or weakened valves within blood vessels, are more common in women than men, and typically occur in the legs.

They’re also more easily treated than you might think thanks to medical innovations and the expertise of physicians who specialize in vascular health.

Dr. Michael F. Gioscia is a board-certified vascular surgeon who treats issues that affect your circulatory system. He designs our treatment protocols here at Vein Institute of Westchester in White Plains, New York. 

Dr. Gioscia is highly regarded for his surgical skill as well as his passion for providing minimally invasive, extremely successful solutions for a wide variety of vascular conditions, including varicose veins and spider veins.

What is the difference between spider veins and varicose veins?

There are different types of blood vessels in your circulatory system. Arteries, for instance, carry oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the rest of the body. Veins are the vessels through which the deoxygenated blood travels back to the heart for refueling.

Spider veins affect blood vessels very near the skin’s surface (capillaries) and are visible as thread-like lines that may range in color from red to blue to purple or black. 

Varicose veins are larger vessels that are deeper than capillaries but lie close enough to the skin’s surface to be visible as cords of blue to purple.

Spider veins are essentially a milder form of varicose veins, and both are linked to dysfunction within veins.

What causes spider veins and varicose veins?

Veins have inner valves that help prevent blood from flowing backward. Faulty valves within veins as well as loss of elasticity and other damage to vein walls slows this process, causing the blood to pool within the vein. 

This leads to the discoloration and bulging associated with varicose and spider veins.

Both types of problematic veins can occur anywhere in your body but most often develop in the legs, where blood must move against gravity to travel back to the heart. 

Many factors increase your risk of developing varicosities, including:

Women are also more likely than men to develop spider and varicose veins, likely because female hormones tend to relax vein walls.

How do you treat varicose veins and spider veins?

Many successful treatments exist for spider and varicose veins. During your initial consultation, Dr. Gioscia takes the time to fully evaluate your vein issues and devise the most effective and cosmetically appealing treatment plan. 

Ours is not a one-fix-for-all practice and Dr. Gioscia has extensive experience in all possible solutions, including minimally invasive, in-office procedures that are quick, convenient, and highly effective.

In your case, Dr. Gioscia may recommend:   

As part of his dedication to patient-first health care, Dr. Gioscia thoroughly discusses details of each option, including expected healing time, cosmetic effects, and success rate with you before scheduling the procedure.

For outstanding vein care that’s designed to suit your needs and circumstances, schedule a visit with Dr. Gioscia at the Vein Institute of Westchester today. We’re here to help.

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