Although leg veins (varicose and spider veins) are very common conditions, many patients don’t know the difference between the two types of veins and use their names interchangeably.
Generally speaking, varicose veins are larger vessels that are bulging above the skin, spongy, and blue in color. They can be tender at times and have “feeder” veins coming off the main branch of the vein. Varicose veins should only be evaluated and treated by a vascular physician and EXTERNAL laser treatments are not appropriate for their treatment although their are endoscopic (internal) laser treatments available. Spider veins (also called telangiectasias) are smaller in diameter than varicose veins and are NOT associated with bulging, pain, tenderness, or branches/feeders. They may be red, blue, or purple in color. The color of the spider vein distinguishes its depth in the tissue with red being the most superficial. These types of vessels respond very well to external laser treatments because of their size and closeness to the surface of the skin.
Varicose Vein (Pacific Vein Center) Spider Veins