Reticular veins, or feeder veins, are dilated blue or green veins just beneath the skin. While they can develop independently, they can also develop from varicose veins. As feeder veins, they can send blood to spider veins. They can be harmless, or they can indicate serious vein disease. Reticular veins can be a straight line, or they can have branches.
What are the Causes?
The most common cause of reticular veins is heredity. A tendency to develop them runs in some families. Some of the same factors that cause varicose veins can cause reticular veins. Hence, obesity can cause them to form. So can occupations that require a lot of standing, like a teacher, nurse, beautician or factory worker.
Hormonal changes and a history of blood clots can increase a person’s chances of developing reticular veins. So can some medications, like postmenopausal hormone replacement or birth control pills. Sun exposure, which can cause a fair-skinned person to develop spider veins on their nose and/or cheeks, can also increase the chances of developing these veins.
How Can Someone Tell If the Reticular Veins Are Potentially Harmful?
Reticular veins can be strictly a cosmetic problem, or they can indicate serious disease. In the latter case, the patient may have pain or swelling in their legs. The patient’s legs may also feel heavy. In addition, spider or reticular veins that appear on the inside of the ankle can also indicate trouble. It might be caused by an incompetent perforating vein or a leaking saphenous vein.
Are There Any Tests a Doctor Might Use?
The most commonly used diagnostic test is the Doppler ultrasound, which is used to measure and study blood flow. It can tell how much blood passes through a vessel per heartbeat, and that indicates the size of a blood vessel’s opening. A Doppler ultrasound device can also detect abnormal blood flow, which can indicate a blood clot, inflammation or plaque.
Non-surgical procedures are available that can be used to remove reticular veins. One option is sclerotherapy, in which the doctor injects a solution that eventually causes the body to absorb the vein. At the South Texas Vein Institute in Edinburg, our team of qualified venous experts will come up with a treatment plan that is tailored to address your specific condition. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn more about how we can make your reticular veins a thing of the past.