Most people know the difference between spider veins and varicose veins. But what about spider veins vs. reticular veins? What’s the difference?
Veins are the structures that bring blood up from your legs and back to your heart. Three major vein issues that people commonly notice on their body are:
- Spider veins
- Reticular veins
- Varicose veins
How Can I Tell the Difference Between Veins?
Spider veins, also called telangiectasias, are the smallest veins measuring 1mm or less. They appear close to the surface of the skin and often take on a “tree-like” appearance with the veins looking like tree branches.
Spider veins mainly occur on the thighs, ankles, or calves
These veins can vary in color, ranging from blue/purple, to red or pink.
Usually, these veins don’t cause any physical symptoms unless they occur in larger clusters. Some people may feel slight discomfort in a heavily veined area.
Reticular veins measure between 1mm and 3mm in diameter and are located just below the skin’s surface. They are slightly larger than spider veins.
Reticular veins exist a little deeper in the skin than spider veins, which run more along the surface. Unlike varicose veins, they don’t protrude from beneath the skin.
Reticular veins are found in the legs—commonly on the back or inner thigh—but can occur on the face, breasts, ankles, or knees.
These veins are usually not a medical problem. More often, people are concerned with the aesthetic issues they cause.
Since reticular veins feed into spider veins, they are also called feeder veins. You often see reticular veins right near spider vein clusters.
These veins are blue/green or purple. However, they can take on a ropey appearance and exist in clusters, giving the skin an unattractive marbled appearance.
Reticular veins, unlike spider veins, are often annoying or painful. The more reticular veins you have in an area, the more annoying they will become.
Common symptoms of reticular veins include:
- Itching or irritation
- Tenderness or pain
- General discomfort in the area
- Fatigue and heaviness
Spider veins and reticular veins are both referred to as superficial veins.
Let’s Not Forget About Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are the largest veins. They measure larger than 3mm in diameter. They often bulge out from the skin and usually are purple or blue. Varicose veins are most often found on thighs, calves, ankles, and feet.
Symptoms of varicose veins are similar to the symptoms of reticular veins.
What Causes Reticular Veins and Are They Dangerous?
- Run in families
- More commonly occur in women than men
- Can be caused by obesity
- Can develop during pregnancy
- Develop with age, especially in people over 50 years old
- Can be caused by sitting or standing for long periods of time
- Can have no known cause
However, reticular veins often aren’t reason for concern except for cosmetic reasons. But it’s important to know that reticular veins do indicate that blood is not flowing as well as it could.
Reticular Veins and Venous Insufficiency
Venous insufficiency or prior blood clots cause reticular veins.
Venous insufficiency occurs when blood doesn’t properly flow back to the heart from the feet. Blood pools in the veins.
This, in turn, creates pressure around the veins as well a swelling within the veins. Over time, the walls of the vein become weak and bulge. Veins can twist and skin marbling occurs.
Signs of venous insufficiency are:
- Visible varicose veins on the skin’s surface
- Leg pain or cramps
- Weak legs
- Tightness in calves
- Itchy legs
- Swelling in legs or ankles
- Leg ulcers
- Aching or heaviness in legs
- Skin that thickens or changes color on legs or around ankles
When To See a Doctor for Reticular Veins
There are times when you should see a doctor about vein issues.
Contact a doctor if you are experiencing:
- Pain or discomfort in or around veins
- Bleeding veins
- Ulcers around veins
It’s also a good idea to visit a vein doctor so they can:
- Diagnose your vein problem with a vascular screening
- Treat any damaged veins
- Provide treatment for veins you find cosmetically unattractive
Here you can find out if your vein treatment will be Medicare accepted?
Self-care Treatment for Good Circulation
There are steps you can take to improve blood flow in reticular and other veins.
These at-home solutions for improving blood flow include:
- Wearing compression socks or stockings
- Elevating your legs periodically
- Leaving legs uncrossed when sitting
- Avoid sitting for long periods of time
- Maintaining a healthy weight
These steps may be enough to relieve your discomfort from reticular or varicose veins.
Treatment Options for Reticular Veins
If you continue to have discomfort from reticular or varicose veins, or desire cosmetic treatment for any vein issue, it’s time to see a vein doctor.
Your treatment options will depend on the size and location of your veins and the severity of the venous insufficiency.
Medical treatment of existing reticular veins often prevents the development of associated spider veins. Treatment of reticular veins can also cause nearby spider veins to disappear.
The National Institute of Health states that “Sclerotherapy, when used with the correct technique, is the most effective method for the management of reticular varices and telangiectases.”
Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy involves the injection of a sclerosing agent into the vein. The inner walls of the vein collapse and the vein seals itself shut. Blood is naturally directed to other healthier veins. Over the course of a few months, the body reabsorbs the old vein, and it disappears.
At NJVVC, we use Varithena for this sclerotherapy treatment. It is an FDA-approved patented microfoam that is extremely well tolerated by patients having sclerotherapy treatment.
No anesthesia is required for this procedure.
Contact NJVVC for a free vascular screening.
Don’t think that varicose veins are just a woman’s problem. They’re a guy thing too. When it comes to varicose veins in men—here’s what you should know.
Varicose veins are those unattractive, sometimes painful, bulging veins usually found on legs.
It’s true—varicose veins are often harmless. But sometimes they warn of an underlying health issue.
You’re Not Alone
According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Journal (AHA/ASA) 11 million men aged 40-80 have varicose veins.
Many men go on to develop symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, including venous ulceration.
So don’t be in denial! Sometimes it’s just plain foolish to ignore them.
Doctors Warn Against Ignoring Varicose Veins
If you’re a man, and you have varicose veins … don’t ignore them!
Dr. Stuart Miller of The New Jersey Vein and Vascular Center warns, “Most men won’t come in until there is ulceration or bleeding … or their wife makes them come in. Waiting is not the answer!”
Medical Problems Associated with Varicose Veins
Ignoring varicose veins may lead to these advanced varicose vein problems:
Veins Have an Important Job
Veins return deoxygenated blood to the heart. An artery then takes the blood to the lungs. Once in the lungs, the blood receives new oxygen.
Problems arise when the valves in the veins weaken or fail, and veins can’t do their job. This is called venous insufficiency–a serious medical problem.
Veins can only perform properly if they’re healthy. A vein doctor should check varicose veins to make sure they are working well.
Signs and Symptoms of Varicose Veins in Men
Varicose vein symptoms include:
- Veins that are twisted or bulging
- Achy or heavy feeling in the legs
- Burning, throbbing, cramping, and swelling in the lower leg
- Increased pain after sitting or standing for long periods
- Itching near one or more veins
- Skin discoloration
Should you call a doctor if you have leg pain? Probably.
Causes of Varicose Veins in Men
The major causes of varicose veins in men include:
- Sitting or standing for long periods of time
How to Prevent Varicose Veins—Tips for Men
Now that you know the risks, it’s easy to understand why being proactive about vein care is so important.
If you know that venous insufficiency runs in your family, taking preventive steps now is even more important.
Regular exercise and a healthy diet are essential for vein health.
Exercise Prevents Varicose Veins
Genetics can be an indicator of varicose veins. And you can’t change that.
But you can take action to fight other associated causes of varicose veins, including being overweight or inactive.
Preventing varicose veins with exercise is a great start.
As men age, they produce less testosterone and HGH with each passing year. This slows the metabolism and causes weight gain.
Exercise helps ease this natural progression of weight gain in men. So, in case you needed more motivation to exercise, consider that fewer pounds mean less stress on veins and thus less tendency for vein problems.
Working out will also build healthy leg muscles. Calf muscles are especially important to vein heath because they help pump blood back to your heart more efficiently.
If you’re just starting an exercise regimen, choose an activity you might enjoy. But don’t over-do it. Walking, swimming, yoga, and other low-impact activities are all great to move your body.
High-impact sports, torn ACLs, or a popped hamstring won’t do much for leg and venous health.
Remember, sitting or standing in one position all day is your enemy. But that doesn’t mean you have to train for the Olympics.
Studies have shown that any amount of regular movement is helpful.
Anything from a brisk daily walk to just stepping away from your desk every so often is far better than nothing. Every little bit counts and will make a measurable difference.
Good Diet and Nutrition Fights Varicose Veins in Men
A healthy diet helps keep your weight down, powers your workout, and improves your mood.
Here are some great tips for top foods that improve circulation and vein health.
Beyond that, dietary recommendations specific to venous health include:
- Adding fiber to prevent absorption of unhealthy fats and cholesterol buildup
- Boosting levels of vitamin C to aid the production of collagen and elastin, infrastructural tissues that literally support veins
- Staying hydrated to help fiber flush your system and maintain electrolyte balance
- Eating more rutin, an antioxidant flavonoid found in apple peels, asparagus, green tea, figs, cranberries, and citrus zest that reduces inflammation
- Consuming less salt, thus decreasing water retention and vein pressure
Men Can Get Relief from Varicose Veins
Wearing compression socks and keeping legs elevated can help support veins and reduce pressure. And this reduced pressure can aid in the prevention of varicose veins, as does proper diet and exercise.
Sometimes varicose vein treatment is necessary to restore healthy blood flow to your legs. The presence of bulging and discolored veins or pain could mean clinical treatment is in order.
There are several safe, minimally invasive procedures that are performed in our office in less than an hour. Health insurance or Medicare covers many of these procedures.
Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLT)
EVLT, also known as endovenous laser vein therapy, only requires local anesthesia. It is a safe, virtually painless procedure that eliminates damaged varicose veins.
Ultrasound guidance is used to insert a thin heat-producing laser fiber into the vein. The procedure results in the vein closing. Your body then reroutes blood flow to a nearby healthy vein.
This procedure relieves pain caused by the varicose vein. There is little or no scarring. There is minimal recovery time.
Varithena is an FDA approved injectable foam therapy. This non-surgical procedure uses a sclerosing agent that causes the vein to collapse and close. Blood is displaced into a healthy vein.
ClariVein is a non-thermal treatment that closes a targeted vein. This easily tolerated procedure is highly effective.
Contact The New Jersey Vein and Vascular Center to arrange an appointment and discover the pain-free lifestyle, confidence, and improved appearance that comes with circulatory health.
Do you feel leg pain from varicose veins? Are you embarrassed to wear shorts or a bathing suit because of the varicose veins on your thighs? If so, treatment is available. But will your health insurance cover your varicose vein treatment?
Medical Necessity vs Cosmetic Appeal
Varicose veins can cause discomfort. This makes some people dread the thought of standing on their feet for a long time. Varicose veins can cause sores or ulcers to develop on legs and ankles. They can even promote development of blood clots. These veins are cause medical problems for the patient.
For others, varicose veins are more of a cosmetic embarrassment.
Are your varicose veins a threat to your good health, or are they simply unattractive? It’s important that you know the answer not only for your health but for medical insurance coverage as well.
• When varicose veins affect your health, treatment is a medical necessity. Medical insurance usually pays.
• Varicose veins are a cosmetic problem when they don’t threaten your health or well-being. Medical insurance won’t cover treatment.
To learn about your vein health, make an appointment to visit our office. Our highly skilled vein specialist will check your veins. He can develop an individualized treatment plan for you.
We even offer a free vascular screening. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain. You will feel better and enjoy improved vascular health.
How do Health Insurance Companies Define a “Medical Necessity?”
Let’s start with what we know. Medical insurance will cover treatment of varicose veins when it’s a medical necessity. But here’s the catch. What one company considers a medical necessity, the next company may not.
Visit our web page on Varicose Veins to learn more. There we discuss the symptoms and treatments of varicose veins. You will learn the specific symptoms that usually make treatment a medical necessity.
The criteria most insurance companies base their coverage approval on are:
1. Annoying or Painful Symptoms
2. Identified Venous Reflux— Insurance companies want proof that a vein is not functioning. Documented venous reflux, when blood flows backwards in a vein, is cause for treatment. We diagnose it with ultrasound. However, ultrasound cannot show venous reflux in spider veins; they are too small. So, medical insurance doesn’t cover the treatment of spider veins. They may make an exception for bleeding spider veins.
3. A specified Time of Unsuccessful Conservative Treatment— Did you try an improved diet and exercise plan? Did you wear compression socks daily? Did you rest and elevate your legs each day? The insurance company will want to know this information. Each insurance company has their own requirements. Some insurance companies want you to wear compression socks for 12 weeks.
The important takeaway here is that you need to learn what your insurance company covers. A friend’s experience with a different insurance policy can be quite different. This can be true even if they use the same medical insurance company.
Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Supplemental Plan Coverage
Medicare offers great news for treatment—that is, when the veins are causing a health issue.
This Federal health insurance requires that treatment will protect or improve your health. They may want to know that you already tried lifestyle changes. But ultimately you can count on Medicare’s financial support.
Some common vein treatments that Medicare covers include:
• Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy
• Laser Vein Ablation
Medicare will usually cover 80% of these costs. It is useful to have a good supplemental insurance plan to cover the remaining 20% of costs.
Be aware that Medicare Advantage will attach many stipulations to its coverage. Coverage from Medicare Advantage differs from coverage by Medicare.
Medicare and More Varicose Vein Treatments
Varicose vein removal coverage is less straightforward. There are many costs to consider, including:
• Doctor’s Fees
• Facility Cost
• Method of Extraction
• Number of Medical Sessions Needed
Do private health insurance companies, such Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), United Healthcare (UHC) and Aetna, cover varicose vein treatments?
BCBS, UHC and Aetna are three major insurance companies that cover varicose vein treatments. But like Medicare, the companies only cover treatments of medical necessity. They won’t cover costs for a cosmetic procedure.
Each insurance company has its own criteria to meet. Once this occurs, they approve varicose vein treatment.
Contact your own insurance company to learn the specifics of your plan and policy.
Wonder if our office accepts your insurance? Then visit our website for a list of insurances we accept and to see if we are in network for your plan.
What about Varithena®, ClariVein®, and Endovenous Laser Ablation Treatment (EVLT)?
These are three of the outpatient treatments option that we provide for varicose veins.
Will your medical insurance provide coverage?
Varithena is an FDA-approved sclerotherapy medication. Our doctor injects it into the varicose vein to displace the blood and cause the vein to collapse. Medicare and most private insurance companies cover this non-surgical treatment. But again, it must be a medical necessary necessity. And insurance wants to see you first tried conservative treatment options.
ClariVein is a tiny rotating catheter used in non-thermal treatment of varicose veins. Some private insurance companies and Medicare cover vein treatment using the ClariVein catheter.
EVLT uses laser heat to treat varicose veins. We give the patient local anesthesia. Guided by ultrasound, the laser closes off the vein. Our patient’s health insurance usually covers this procedure. Again, insurance companies want to see that we tried other treatment options first.
Let’s not forget about compression socks and stockings
Patients often wear compression socks as a conservative first-line treatment for varicose veins. Patients also need to wear them after vein procedures or surgery. But Medicare does not pay for these socks—even if the doctor writes a prescription.
Medicare Advantage plans may provide some coverage for compression socks or stockings under certain circumstances. This helps since compression socks can cost more than $100 with certain prescriptions.
Are you ready to take the first step?
Does treatment for your varicose veins qualify as a medical necessity? For the answer, contact us for an appointment at New Jersey Varicose Vein Center. You will enjoy visiting our state-of-the-art vein treatment facility. And you will leave with a clear idea of the medical coverage you can expect.
When it comes to acne, getting a pimple is just the tip of the iceberg. Luckily, there are a lot of ways to reduce or eliminate breakouts fast. Face washes, acne creams, and even medication can help. But for many, it’s the acne aftermath of scars causes concern. And it’s the reason why so many people are turning to chemical peels for acne scars.
Why Acne Scarring Occurs
When acne cysts are painfully inflamed and penetrate deeper skin layers, the risk for scarring increases. Scarring is a result of the healing response initiated by the immune system.
As acne nodules diminish, the immune system tells the body to produce more collagen. Collagen is a protein used to support skin firmness and overall health.
Too much or too little collagen determines the severity of acne scarring. For example, depressed or “caved-in” scars occur when there is not enough collagen to repair skin damage. Scars that appear raised above the surface of the skin indicate the release of too much collagen.
Raised acne scars are seen more frequently in people of color. Depressed acne scars predominantly affect lighter-skinned individuals.
Reducing the Appearance of ScarsOne of the most effective treatments to reduce the appearance of acne scars is a chemical peel. Chemical peels smooth away scar ridges and indentations. They safely and gently exfoliate the topmost layers of your skin.
What is a Chemical Peel?
Chemical peels use various concentrations of alpha-hydroxy, trichloroacetic, and/or glycolic acid. A licensed medical professional will apply the concentrate to areas with scarring. This helps eliminate damaged skin cells and speeds up regeneration. As the peel stimulates collagen production by causing a mild wound event, old skin cells are replaced by new, healthy skin cells.
Chemical peels take about an hour to complete. After a peel, you should expect some redness like a sunburn. Mild chemical peels may be performed every two or three weeks. Minimize itching by keeping your skin hydrated or using a cold compress.
Severe acne scarring may require a “deep” chemical peel. This type of peel may use phenol to penetrate deeper into the skin. Communicate openly with your doctor to achieve the best results.
In addition to reducing acne scars, chemical peels smooth away fine lines, mild skin discolorations, and treat actinic keratosis.
A Great Time to Get Rid of Acne Scars
There are a lot of misconceptions about chemical peels. For some, that means it gets put on the back burner of things to do. But the number one myth about chemical peels is that you will have to hide in your home for days after due to redness and flaking. That’s not true! A chemical skin peel can be stress-free with very little downtime if any at all.
Chemical peels now consist of gentler but more effective solutions. Patients can even opt for a lunchtime peel that takes about 20 minutes. There is minimal redness, and you can resume normal activities directly following the procedure.
However, keep in mind that chemical peels formulated to reach deeper skin layers may cause more apparent redness and flaking.
Acne scars can easily be reduced or eliminated with safe and effective chemical peels. Call us today to schedule a free consultation appointment.
FALL CHEMICAL PEEL BONUS
Fall welcomes cooler temperatures and brisk breezes that bring a healthy, attractive glow to your cheeks. It’s also the time to wear cute, soft sweaters, leggings, and free-form hairstyles. While you sip your pumpkin spice, consider the following:
Chemicals peels rejuvenate your skin leaving your skin fresh and glowing. No more spending hours in the morning applying concealers, foundation, and powder. Just shower, get dressed, and be ready to greet the day.
The days are getting shorter and there is less sun. UV rays aren’t nearly as strong as they are during summer. You’ll still need to use sunscreen after your procedure, but you can go outside with less caution during fall versus summer.
The holiday season is upon us. Every year it sneaks right up. A chemical peel is a great way to get ready for the busy times during the season when makeup isn’t an option. For the gatherings you attend and everything between, a chemical peel can help revitalize your skin.
Get the look you want with a chemical peel this fall season at the NJVVC!
Thin blue, purple, or red lines, which may appear like webs or branches on your face, are known as spider veins. Some people also refer to them as thread veins or broken blood vessels.
There could be several reasons for spider veins appearing on the face. Understanding what causes them can help prevent and even treat them.
What are Spider Veins?
Spider veins are thin and damaged veins near the surface of the legs and facial skin. They are often highly visible. Unlike varicose veins, they usually don’t cause pain, but sometimes some mild discomfort.
When blood vessels are prominent near the facial skin surface, they are also known as facial Telangiectasis. Most people refer to spider veins as broken blood vessels. When Telangiectasis appears, it is typically due to heredity and environmental factors. Extreme heat or cold and the sun are the factors that seem to play a large role in their occurrence.
There are no at-home remedies to remove spider veins. But the good news is, this condition is easily treatable.
Before we discuss treatment options, it’s important to understand why reasons spider veins appear.
Causes of Spider Veins on the Face
||● Sun Exposure
||● Alcohol Use
||● Skin Diseases
||● Liver Disease
Women are more often affected by spider veins than men. The most common causes are aging, alcohol consumption, injury to the face, changes in weather, and sun exposure.
Those who suffer from rosacea, liver disease, or connective tissue diseases often have spider veins on the face.
Pregnancy can also cause spider veins on various areas of the body. Elevated blood pressure and estrogen during pregnancy can easily lead to broken blood vessels appearing on the skin.
Spider veins are hereditary. If you have a family history of spider veins, you’ll likely see them on multiple areas of the body such as legs and face.
Sun exposure can exacerbate spider veins and make them more prominent. Chemical irritants and environmental changes are also determining factors of spider veins appearing. Protecting your skin with sunscreen and vitamins is helpful in mitigating these factors.
Spider veins can fade with time, they are not necessarily permanent. However, they may take years to become less noticeable. Seeking professional intervention and treatment will help them fade faster.
Treatment for Spider Veins on Face
There are a number of treatments that can reduce or eliminate spider veins from your face.
Please remember that after most forms of spider vein treatment, there is a higher risk of sensitivity to sunlight. Avoid the sun directly after a procedure and incorporate sunscreen into your routine.
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive spider vein treatment. It involves injecting a chemical solution into the broken veins. The veins then harden, close, and finally disappear. This treatment reduces swelling and causes the affected veins to shrink and vanish.
Sclerotherapy is an excellent solution for treating large spider veins of the face. Most people see immediate results although best results are seen after ten days.
This treatment is generally painless and won’t break the bank. There is very little down time after this procedure. Many people return to work and activities the same day.
Retinol/Vitamin A Creams
Retinol creams with vitamin A effectively fade and reduce the appearance of spider veins by building collagen in the dermis and minimizing their appearance.
Retinoid creams are mainly used for acne and rosacea. They help regenerate new skin cells by removing the outermost layer of skin. This allows for the fresh, undamaged skin to come to the surface. Your doctor can help you to find the right balance of retinoids to reduce spider veins and achieve your desired results.
Laser therapy is another form of treatment to help break up spider veins. Laser therapy is a very targeted treatment that works to destroy spider vein entirely. Lasers therapy uses a light beam to seal the vessels off, causing them to dissolve.
People with a darker complexion should avoid this therapy. This form of treatment can destroy melanin and lead to discoloration. This risk increases with the number of treatments given. One to three sessions of laser therapy may be needed to treat facial spider veins.
Many people report that laser treatments are painful. It has been likened to a rubber band snapping sensation against the face. Laser treatment might seem like a no side effect therapy, but bruising does occur often. This procedure can also be very costly.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
Intense pulsed light is often used to treat spider veins of the face. The IPL treatment is similar to laser therapy. The main difference is that the light pulse penetrates down to the second layer of skin without affecting the top layer.
Pulsing light helps break up spider veins making them less noticeable. At the same time, this treatment encourages the regeneration of cells. Light therapy can also help with killing bacteria on the surface of the skin and may be helpful if you are prone to acne.
These light treatments are extremely targeted. They work best on spider veins that are very noticeable and need precise targeting to treat.
Electrocautery and Radiofrequency
In electrocautery and radiofrequency procedures, a fine needle-like tip vaporizes the dilated vessels.
The treatment may be a little uncomfortable, but it is quick and has a low chance of scarring. These techniques can treat even the tiniest spider veins that even lasers cannot.
Where to Seek Treatment?
Rely on professional help to eliminate spider veins on your face. Receiving treatment from a qualified vein care specialist reduces side effects like increased redness, itchiness, and scarring.
Your skin is precious and taking proper care of it can make a big difference in how you see yourself. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation to discuss you skin care needs.
This blog has been updated in November 2021.