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Important Varicose & Spider Vein Vocabulary

Written By: Emma Squillace

If you’re one of the millions of people who has spider veins or varicose veins, you’ve likely wondered about your condition. What causes these veins?  Are they dangerous? What treatment options are there? Today we’ll introduce you to medical terms you’ll likely see as you research your varicose vein or spider vein condition & treatment options.


Telangiectasias are small bunches of blood vessels that often appear red. A common place you’ll see telangiectasias is in the face. They can also appear as purple or blue ‘web’ patterned veins in the legs. The more common name for telangiectasias is spider veins. These veins generally do not cause symptoms, but can be treated for cosmetic reasons. In some cases, spider veins can lead to varicose veins, so treating them early may prevent more vein problems in the future.

Varicose veins

Varicose veins are large and often bulging veins that have stopped working correctly. These veins have weakened, stretched out, or twisted. Varicose veins can interfere with everyday life by causing pain, itching, irritation, cramping, and a tired or heavy feeling in the legs. Varicose veins cannot get better on their own, so the only cure is with treatment by a vein expert.

Venous insufficiency syndrome

Venous insufficiency syndrome is a medical term that means an interruption in your normal blood flow. In many cases, this is related to varicose veins. Varicose veins happen when a vein – often in the leg – becomes dilated, weakened, or twisted. This is not just a cosmetic issue, but an indication that there is a problem with the blood flow in that vein. There is no way to prevent varicose veins, but you can have them treated.


A Doppler ultrasound can be used to examine varicose veins in a non-invasive way. The ultrasound allows us to see the structure of the veins, and learn about varicose veins you may not be aware of. An ultrasound also allows for a detailed diagnosis and treatment plan recommendation. Primary care physicians generally do not have the tools available to perform vein ultrasounds, so coming to an expert at a vein center like West Medical is the best way to get a comprehensive diagnosis and set of recommendations.

Stasis dermatitis

Stasis dermatitis is a skin condition often caused by varicose veins. Many people with this skin condition may think they have dry skin or a rash, but the insufficient blood flow related to varicose veins can be the cause. This skin condition can progress to ulceration, which is a more serious condition linked to varicose veins.


Thrombophlebitis is a potentially dangerous condition where a blood clot forms in one or both legs. The reasons this is so dangerous is a blood clot can break loose and travel to one of your organs which is a life-threatening medical condition. Varicose veins increase your risk for forming blood clots in your legs.


A scleroscant is a substance we can inject into a vein to treat visible veins, during a process called sclerotherapy. This is most commonly used for spider veins, and is a highly effective and minimally invasive treatment. Sclerotherapy is done in our office and requires no anesthesia.


Microphlebectomy is a minimally invasive treatment, often used for varicose veins. During this procedure, we’ll numb an area of your leg and make a small incision. We’ll use a little hook to loop the varicose vein, and remove it from your leg. After the brief procedure, we’ll put a bandage over the incision and you’ll be ready to leave. Generally, patients are able to walk around and go up and down stairs with no trouble, right after the procedure.

If you have visible veins like varicose or spider veins, you know they can be uncomfortable and unsightly. The good news is these veins can be treated, eliminating the cosmetic and painful side effects of visible veins. If you have questions during your process of learning about all your options, please reach out to us. Our expert vein team is happy to speak with you. You can reach our supportive vein experts at (855) 690-0565.

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