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Varicose Veins vs. Spider Veins: What's the Difference?

Veins can affect your confidence, whether they appear on your face, hands, or legs. In this blog we will concentrate on veins on your legs. Varicose and spider veins appear for a variety of reasons. They have several important differences, and your New York Skin & Vein Centers specialists treat them differently. 

What are Varicose and Spider Veins?

Some people refer to varicose and spider veins interchangeably as a term for visible veins. However, they have several differences. Visible veins typically appear when vein walls become stretched, causing the vein to enlarge. The stretched vein makes the blood inside visible, resulting in a blue, red, or purple appearance. They can appear on many parts of the body, although the legs and face are the most common. 

Varicose vs. Spider Veins: What’s the Difference?

Varicose veins and spider veins have several factors in common, but they also have significant differences. Dr. Dohner will diagnose and treat your veins to provide aesthetic and/or health benefits. On your legs an ultrasound will tell us the difference between the two different diagnoses and also allow us to formulate a treatment plan. 

What They Look Like

Spider veins are small veins that look like webs or tree branches. They form in small veins close to the skin’s surface, making them visible. (Spider veins on the face, also called telangiectasias, can affect your appearance.) 

Varicose veins often look like thick, twisted, or bulging veins. They are much larger than spider veins and usually appear on the legs. Varicose veins are a response to problems with circulation, causing blood to pool and stretch the vein walls. 

How They Form

Genetics plays a very strong role in varicose and spider veins. Other important factors in both include having babies, hormones, aging, and standing or sitting position at work.

Varicose veins form when blood flow from the legs back to the heart begins to pool in your leg veins. This pooling results from damage to the one-way valves of these veins. This venous insufficiency stretches the vein walls, giving them their bulging, rope-like appearance. 

Consultations Available Now

The first step is to schedule an in-person consultation with one of our highly trained providers at New York Skin & Vein Center located in Oneonta, NY, serving the surrounding New York City areas with additional offices in Norwich, Binghamton, and Cobleskill.

Simply fill out the form on this page and we will reach out to you promptly to schedule your appointment. Your journey to a healthier, happier you can start today.

How They Are Treated

Spider veins are usually treated with sclerotherapy which is the gold standard of treatment. The smallest of spiders can be treated with laser and VeinGogh™ radiofrequency.

Varicose veins can be treated with endovenous laser treatments, sclerotherapy with Varithena®, or ambulatory phlebectomy. Dr. Dohner will assess your veins and determine the best treatment for your needs. 

Is There Any Downtime After Vein Treatment?

Most vein treatments have little to no downtime. In general, you can return to your usual activities after treatment. In some cases, Dr. Dohner may instruct you to limit strenuous exercise for a short time. You will usually need to walk at least ten minutes every day after treatment. 

Am I a Candidate for Varicose Vein or Spider Vein Treatment?

Almost anyone can receive treatment for visible veins. Our variety of available treatments means we have one that will work for you. Whether you have bothersome facial spider veins or bulging varicose veins, Dr. Dohner and his team can help. 


*Individual Results May Vary

Dr. Dohner and his team strive to provide the best experience for everyone who chooses their practice for their aesthetic and vein needs. Read why our patients love their results & experience with Dr. Dohner and his team of expert providers at New York Skin & Vein Center in New York.

Take the Next Step

To schedule your in-person varicose and spider veins consultation, call New York Skin & Vein Centers at (607) 431-2525 or simply fill out the form on this page. We look forward to working with you. 

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