Capitol Vein Blog

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Painful Spider Veins ... Can CVL Help?

Spider veins, or telangectasia, are capillary veins that have become enlarged enough for us to see them on the surface of the leg.  While spider veins are very common, their cause is unknown and most people do not like their appearance.  I have not found an association between spider veins and varicose veins, as patients who have numerous spider veins may have no varicose veins and those with severe varicose veins often are free of spider veins. Of course, these types of veins can present together as well.

Patients often describe the “pain” from spider veins as anything from a burning sensation to a deep ache, always centered near the suspected cluster of the veins. Aches and pains like this can come and go, treated or not, and usually don't have an explanation.

Can treatment help painful spider veins?  I would answer this in a roundabout way. When a patient asks me: "Doc, if you inject these veins [perform sclerotherapy] can you guarantee that my pain will go away?" The answer is a resounding "no."

A patient investing in such care would have the expectation that sclerotherapy would solve the problem of their pain. The spider veins are very superficial - right in the top layer of skin or just below it, so there are not any significant structural elements that the spider veins can impact to cause significant pain.  Large varicose veins are deeper and usually do produce symptoms. So, when patients have pain in an area of spider veins, I tell them the veins can go away with sclerotherapy, but I have no way to predict if their symptoms will go away.  I do know that the veins can be made to disappear quite easily though! Making the legs look better is something that is generally easy to achieve and very much valued by patients.

Questions related to spider veins or varicose veins can be directed to us via our website,


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