More than 80 million people in the United States have vein problems that prevent a flood from flowing properly. Vein diseases come in a variety of forms. If you are like most people, you know about varicose veins. You may not know about another type of vein problem – reticular veins.
While they may seem the same at first glance, there are several distinct differences between reticular veins and varicose veins.
Vein Doctor Explains the Difference between Varicose Veins and Reticular Veins
Varicose veins are dark blue or purple veins that bulge above the surface of your skin. Spider veins are tiny, measuring about 1 to 1.5 millimeter. Varicose veins typically measure 2.5 mm or larger.
Reticular veins are somewhere in between spider veins and varicose veins, measuring about 2 mm in size. Reticular veins usually have a blue-green or purple color; clusters of spider veins may appear near reticular veins.
Unlike varicose veins that protrude above the surface of your skin, reticular veins do not bulge above the surface of your skin. In other words, you can feel a varicose vein when you rub your fingers over your skin but you usually cannot feel a reticular vein.
People sometimes refer to reticular veins as “feeder veins” because of the way they branch into, or “feed,” spider veins. Reticular veins can worsen spider veins; varicose veins do not influence the development of spider veins.
Reticular veins are usually smaller than varicose veins, but these feeder veins may have a ropey appearance normally associated with varicose veins. Reticular veins typically develop on the back of the leg, and usually around your ankles or knees.
Like varicose veins, reticular veins can cause discomfort.
Treatment of Reticular Veins and Varicose Veins
Treatment effectively reduces the appearance and symptoms of reticular veins and varicose veins. Sclerotherapy is the treatment of choice for reticular veins and small varicose veins. Sclerotherapy involves the injection of a sclerosant, which is a chemical that irritates the inside of the diseased vein. The treated vein seals shut; the body routes blood through nearby veins as the treated tissue breaks apart.
Vein doctors often recommend the use of laser treatments to alleviate symptoms of reticular veins and varicose veins. Laser treatments use the power of light energy to irritate and close the diseased vein.
For more information about the differences between reticular veins and varicose veins, consult with your local vein doctor. You can also learn about treatments and prevention strategies to cope with varicose veins, reticular veins, and other vein problems.