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What are spider veins?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, only they are much smaller. They are red, blue or purple in color, and they appear as branch like or web like clusters on the skin.

Susan Evans
Dermatology
Spider veins refer to those red, purple or blue lines that can be seen through the skin. These are actually dilated blood vessels that are turned or twisted. Some appear as short fine lines, others in clusters, and others in the spider web shape.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Spider veins are those red, purple, or blue lines that can be seen through the skin, often found on your legs. They are actually dilated blood vessels that have been turned or twisted, and thus can be seen through the skin.
Arthur W. Perry, MD
Plastic Surgery
Spider veins, technically known as telangiectasia, are capillaries and small veins that become visible through the skin of the legs and thighs.

Spider veins are most likely to appear during pregnancy and are present in most women by age 30. They are caused by the weight of blood that dilates the capillary walls. As the skin thins with advancing age, the veins become more visible.
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Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, which occur when veins stop functioning properly and produce pressure, swelling and pain. However, spider veins are much smaller and closer to the surface of the skin. They are usually red or blue/purple in color and resemble a spiderweb pattern. These veins can cause discomfort but, unlike varicose veins, usually do not become a serious medical condition.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.