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What are Reticular Veins?

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Reticular veins are also referred to as ‘blue veins’ or ‘feeder veins.’ This condition occurs when dilated veins allow the outgoing blood to flow in the opposite direction (backward). This increase in pressure causes the veins to become enlarged. They can also twist and cause green or blue lines beneath the skin, often creating an unsightly marbling effect.

Reticular Veins: What You Need to Know

The Cause

Approximately 80 percent of men and women who are between the ages of 18 to 64 will experience some form of reticular and/or spider veins during their lifetime. However, women are at a greater risk of developing feeder veins and spider veins, especially as they age.

Feeder veins can occur due to genetics, hormonal imbalances, and/or weak veins. Other factors include weight, age, UV-damaged skin, as well as increased pressure in the abdomen due to chronic constipation, wearing tight undergarments (like girdles), and abdominal tumors. Furthermore, spending a lot of time lying down, standing or sitting can contribute to the development of the feeder veins.


The most common locations for blue veins are the ankles, calves, behind the knees, and on the thighs. Feeder veins are typically more noticeable in individuals with fair skin.

The Circulatory System – Explained

Arteries and veins are part of the circulatory system. The arteries are responsible for transporting blood that is full of nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. Once the nutrients and oxygen have been delivered, the blood flows into the veins to be transported back to the heart. The heart pumps the returning blood through the lungs so that the carbon dioxide can be removed and replaced with oxygen: Then, the cycle begins again.

Recognizing Feeder Veins

Feeder veins are deep veins that appear dark and form bluish networks crisscrossing on the lower legs and thighs. These veins generally measure 1 to 3 mm in diameter. Although feeder veins lie deeper beneath the skin than spider veins, they are visually recognizable: Typically appearing as purple or blue vessels: However, sometimes feeder veins will appear slightly braided, making them look similar to the larger varicose veins.


While it is true that reticular veins are unlikely to lead to a sudden health risk, your lifestyle may be negatively affected. For example, your blue veins may cause you to avoid wearing shorts in the summer or attending pool parties.

Feeder veins are either marbled-looking blemishes or unappealing clusters of green, or blue lines. For the most part, these veins are not painful; however, if an individual has numerous feeder veins, he or she may experience symptoms similar to those seen with varicose veins.

These symptoms may include:

  • Aching
  • Heaviness
  • Discomfort
  • Fatigue
  • Irritation

While rare, some patients do experience itching, tenderness, and/or a burning sensation in the areas surrounding their blue veins.

Treating Reticular Veins

Although painful symptoms or medical complications are rare when it comes to feeder veins, many individuals choose to visit Dr. Charles L. Dietzek at the Vein and Vascular Institute in New Jersey to have them treated.

Treatments for feeder veins include:

There are occasions when a miniphlebectomy can be performed to address feeder veins. However, sclerotherapy, which is more invasive than a miniphlebectomy, is frequently the procedure used to treat these unsightly veins.

Following treatment, patients enjoy clearer, smoother skin in the areas previously afflicted with blue veins. Treating the reticular veins decreases the likelihood of the individual developing spider veins in those areas.

If you notice that you have feeder veins, spider veins, and/or varicose veins, contact Dr. Charles L. Dietzek at the Vein and Vascular Institute in New Jersey today. He can help you eliminate these bothersome vein problems so you can enjoy wearing the clothes you love and stop experiencing the symptoms associated with these conditions. The Vein and Vascular Institute has four convenient locations in New Jersey: Sewell, Lumberton, Voorhees, and Vineland. Contact the office today at 856-309-9777 to schedule your appointment.

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