What is a Spider Vein?

Doctor Answers 7

Spider veins

The causes of varicose veins are varied and are related to reflux disease at the saphenofemoral juntion (venous reflux disease) or perforators at the thigh, knee or ankle. Venous reflux disease causing varicose veins can be treated using vein stripping or radiofrequency closure.

However, the etiology contributing to the development of spider veins are multiple and include heredity, pregnancy, hormonal factors, weight gain and occupations that necessitate prolonged sitting or standing.

Spider veins are less than 1 mm in diameter. Reticular veins are 1 mm to 3 mm in diameter.

Buffalo Phlebologist
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Spider veins and varicose veins definition

Spider veins are distinguished from varicose veins based on size.  Spider veins are small caliber vessels that are intradermal or subcutaneous and tend to be blue or red.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

The definition of a

spider vein is one that is very superficial in the epidermis and less than 1mm in size.  classifying types of veins is based on their anatomic location AND size.


Craig Crippen, MD
Kelowna Physician

Spider Veins

Spider veins are very small (typically less than 1 mm), superficial veins that are so named because they look like the legs of a small spider on the skin. Spider veins in the legs are usually caused by increased pressure and fluid buildup related to a genetic predisposition for poor circulation. They can also appear during periods of rapid weight gain and fluid retention such as pregnancy.

Spider veins in the face are also genetically linked but can also be brought on by sun exposure and related conditions like Rosacea.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Spider veins

Spider veins are small vessels usually on the legs that sprout out from a central area like the legs of a spider. They are conducive to treatment with lasers or sclerosing agents.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Spider Veins

Spider veins are called that because they have the appearance of a spider. They tend to have a central vessel from which little veins branch out.

Theya re typically associated with varicose veins in the lower extremities. However, they can occur anywhere on the body especially the face.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Spider veins are small veins in the skin


Spider veins are small veins in the skin. They usually show through the skin when they are very close to the surface and in thin pale skinned people. They can be treated with injections or lasers/light treatments.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.