The exact cause of spider veins is not proven, but heredity, local trauma, hormonal levels, and occupations requiring prolonged standing are believed to be contributing factors. Spider veins become more numerous with age, and are more common in women.
Spider veins are formed from areas of faulty function of Reticular Veins. Reticular veins are the major collecting veins just under the surface of the skin. (Reticular veins in turn drain in to the system of veins that can become varicose veins). Spider veins look like red or purple sunbursts or web patterns. Spider veins are also referred to as 'telangiectasias". They usually pose no health hazard but may produce a dull aching, stinging, or burning in the legs after prolonged standing.
Unlike Varicose veins where Laser has become preferred treatment for most patients, the best treatment for the vast majority of spider veins remains injections--termed "Surface Sclerotherapy." Phlebologists use a variety of effective time-proven injectable agents ("sclerosants") to choose from to treat spider veins. Every patient varies in the success of a sclerosing session, but the Phlebologist's experience usually will guide better results based on the patient's skin type and size/location of the spider veins, Most patients will require two or three treatments to get satisfactory results. Unlike hypertonic saline (that most modern vein specialists do NOT use), the other effective sclerosants do not cause severe pain/stinging and have a very low incidence of side effects. Insurance companies generally do not cover the cost of spider vein treatment.