It is a common misconception that varicose veins and spider veins are one in the same. Although they have similarities, the infographic below illustrates the major differences.
Spider veins are visible near the surface of the skin, and a common place to find them is on the legs, especially behind the knees. Varicose veins are found deeper in the body, and appear thicker than spider veins. They may look like they are bulging and twisted, while spider veins are typically jagged in shape.
Spider veins are most often a cosmetic issue. There might not be any obvious symptoms other than the appearance, but occasionally they may itch or burn. With Varicose veins, however, you might experience achy, tired, or heavy sensations. In addition to being unsightly and painful, varicose veins can progress into more serious issues, including thrombosis (clots) or ulcers.
Luckily there are a myriad of treatment options for both conditions. Cosmetic spider veins can be treated with Sclerotherapy, or laser surface treatments. If your physician determines that you have varicose veins, the treatment is more comprehensive. If compression stockings don’t relieve symptoms, your vascular specialist may suggest an interventional procedure such as ablation (closing of the vein) using laser or radio-frequencies. The good news is that all of these treatments can be performed in office, without requiring a hospital stay, and they’re covered by most insurances!