The general public will sometime use the terms of spider veins and varicose veins interchangeably. While spider veins can be a type of varicosity, not all varicose veins are really spider veins. One easier way to tell them apart is by appearance. True varicose veins tend to be seen through the surface of the skin as a thick and ropey protrusion. Varicose veins cans also be very common on arms and legs as well as the hands and feet. While there may be discoloration in the area of the varicosity, this is not always as prominent as the raised distention of the vein.
While this visual can be one way to distinguish between spider veins and varicose veins, there are also physiological differences between the two. Varicose veins are surface or deep veins that have either lost elasticity or had venous valve failure.
Since blood which is returning to the heart is fighting the pull of gravity as it moves from the extremities, the small valves that are located within the veins act as locks, which prevent backflow and pooling. When these valves become worn out or damaged, the pooling of blood between sections of functioning valves will cause that visually distinguishable distention.
The reason why some varicose veins will show discoloration and other will not, has to do with how deeply they are located within the body. Deep vein varicosities, which may also be the result more chronic circulation issues, tend to register as greater distention and less discoloration. Surface varicosities, such as on the hands and feet, can show as both the protrusions and the dark bluish purple coloring.
A Question Of Appearance
Spider veins are all surface based concerns, and tend to involve either the capillaries themselves or the lighter veins leading into the capillary junction. These issues could stem from pooling through valve failure, but could also be the appearance of burst capillaries and surface veins which now show the discoloration through the surface of the skin.
Most spider veins do not have the prominent distention that other varicosities show, but may still offer a smooth skin surface that simply shows the spindly discoloration of the pooled blood. Capillary veins have extremely delicate and thin vessel walls, to allow for fluid and oxygen exchange, but this also makes them prone to this type of bursting and pooling. While they can be caused by more complex health concerns including high blood pressure, they can also arise from activities that promote circulation and wellness, such as rigorous exercise.
This also tends to make the tell-tale discoloration highly obvious in areas where the dermis is thinner, such as the face, nose, and cheeks, as well as places like the thighs and sometimes the calves. While some of the corrective treatments for both spider veins and deeper varicosities may take a similar procedure, they do need to be evaluated as separate concerns.
Finding The Best Treatment
At Sutton Place Laser Vein Care, we have experience with the variety of issues that may lead to either spider veins or deeper varicosities. We also have appropriate protocols for handling each type of concern. One thing that we find especially helpful in truly aiding our clients is to be able to perform a full consultation in order to determine the most effective approach to personalized vein treatment procedures. By having clients schedule a consultation, this allows us to help and address underlying causes as well as visible concerns to result in greater success for a beautiful and healthy appearance.