You likely know what varicose veins are. You probably have heard about spider veins as well. But when we tell our Vein & Vascular Institute in New Jersey patients that the blue lines on their thighs or legs are reticular veins, they often give us a puzzled look.
How Do Reticular Veins Differ from Varicose Veins?
Also referred to as feeder veins, these veins are dilated blue veins (sometimes green or purple) that reside beneath the surface of the skin. They have a number of differences between varicose veins. Coming in about 2mm on average in diameter, these veins are typically smaller than varicose veins. They also lie under the skin and do not protrude outward like varicose veins do.
How are These Veins Similar to Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?
Feeder veins are similar to varicose veins in terms of their color, which are usually blue in color. Like spider veins and varicose veins, they are a common problem many people face.
Where and How Do These Veins Form?
Most commonly, these veins form on the back and inner portion of the thighs. They also are found on the ankles and legs. Some patients have them on the face, and can present in vein clusters.
While reticular feeder veins are generally hereditary, they can become enlarged due to increased pressure. They can form as a result of weak veins or a hormone imbalance. While they can exist on their own, they can also contribute to the rise of spider veins.
Are They Only a Cosmetic Problem?
In many cases, feeder veins are a cosmetic issue. Their appearance deters its users to refrain from wearing skirts, shorts, and certain cuts of bathing suits. In some cases, veins that are reticular, though can cause discomfort and pain in the surrounding areas. These veins can also “feed” spider veins with excess blood. For this reason, removing veins that have become reticular can help with spider veins.
Can Reticular Veins Be Easily Removed?
Fortunately, removal of feeder veins is a routine procedure we perform here at the Vein & Vascular Institute. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis, and takes only a few minutes. The most common procedure used to treat these veins is sclerotherapy, but miniplhebectomy, which is a less invasive option to sclerotherapy, can be used in some cases. Either way, veins which are reticular should be treated before spider veins in order to prevent an early development of spider veins.
If you have blue reticular veins, give one of our three convenient office in New Jersey a call at 856-309-8346.