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Spider veins are small, red, blue, or purple unsightly dilated veins that can appear anywhere on the body, most commonly on the surface of the legs, particularly in the upper outer thighs. They are also known as spider telangiectasias. They generally do not cause any symptoms; however, they can occasionally cause burning, pain, itching, swelling, heaviness, and skin discoloration. Spider veins may begin to appear by the age of 20, and it is estimated that 80% of all women by the age of 60 will have spider veins.

Spider veins are generally hereditary, or passed on from family members due to genetic causes. Other causes include prolonged sitting or standing, venous insufficiency, advanced age, obesity, hormonal changes, sedentary lifestyle, or pregnancy. They can be seen with or without varicose veins. Spider veins can be treated by a variety of methods, including laser therapy or injection sclerotherapy. Compression stockings can also be worn to help reduce the symptoms caused by spider veins.

Dr. Jay Varma
About the Author

Dr. Jay Varma joined Fairfax Radiology in 2006 after working as an interventional radiologist at the Washington Hospital Center for four years. In addition to his expertise in minimally invasive vein treatments for varicose veins and spider veins, he brings his special experience in uterine fibroid embolization to Fairfax Vein Center. He is co-founder of the Uterine Fibroid Center of Excellence in Washington, DC, and regularly lectures and appears as a media expert on the subject of minimally invasive therapies.