You may have heard of spider veins and varicose veins, but you may have never heard of reticular veins. Also known as feeder veins or blue veins, reticular veins are tiny, squiggly, blue or greenish-colored veins that sit just below the surface of your skin.
Reticular veins can develop anywhere but most commonly appear on the inner part and back of your thighs, legs and ankles. You can even develop these unsightly veins on your face.
Reticular veins are smaller than varicose veins but larger than spider veins. They typically measure 2 to 4 mm in diameter, according to Medscape, and are very common. These unsightly veins may affect up to 80 percent of all adults.
While reticular veins are not a health hazard and are usually painless, they do pose a considerable cosmetic issue. Many people who are embarrassed by these unsightly veins avoid wearing shorts, skirts or bathing suits. Reticular veins can be particularly embarrassing when they appear on your face.
Fortunately, your vein doctor provides safe and highly effective vein treatment for reticular veins. Treatment for reticular veins is non-invasive, which means your vein surgeon can perform the procedure in an outpatient vein clinic.
Sclerotherapy – The Gold Standard for Treating Reticular Veins
Vein doctors consider sclerotherapy as the gold standard for treating reticular veins. Sclerotherapy words by irritating the interior walls of the affected vein, which causes the walls of the vein to swell, stick together, and seal shut. Your body routes blood through other veins. In time, the treated vein breaks apart; nearby tissue absorbs the leftover tissue to leave behind smooth skin.
Venous surgeons perform sclerotherapy by injecting a chemical, known as a sclerosant, into the reticular vein. Depending on the size of your reticular vein, your doctor may inject the sclerosant in a couple of different spots in the vein. The procedure takes only a few minutes; you can get up and walk around immediately after sclerotherapy.
In some cases, your vein doctor may recommend mini-phlebectomy, in which the surgeon removes the reticular vein through tiny incisions in the skin. In other cases, reticular veins are associated with larger varicose veins. In these circumstances, your vein doctor may recommend that you undergo treatment for varicose veins prior to treatment for reticular veins.
Treatment for reticular veins is minimally invasive, highly effective, and associated with very few side effects or complications. If reticular veins are ruining the smooth appearance of your skin, make an appointment with your local vein doctor.