Spider veins are small, enlarged superficial blood vessels that appear red or blue. They commonly occur on the legs, but frequently occur on the face or elsewhere. These dilated blood vessels may be short, unconnected lines each about the size of a large hair, or connected in a matted, “sunburst” pattern. They may also look like a spider web or a tree with branches. Sometimes, they occur in a small area and aren’t very noticeable, or they can cover a large area of skin and be quite unattractive. If spider veins are unsightly or uncomfortable, they can be treated with laser, or by injection of a solution that will cause them to disappear or become much smaller. There is about a 50-90 percent chance for a greatly improved appearance.
Larger dilated blood vessels called varicose veins may be raised above the skin surface. They may occur along with spider veins. Patients can have pain, ranging from a dull throbbing pain to a burning sensation. The larger vessels are more likely to cause discomfort, although smaller blue veins have been shown to cause pain.