Are Spider Veins a Health Risk?

Spider veins are those tiny, branching veins that form most often on your legs and face. They appear when small veins just under the surface of your skin become dilated, creating a collection of noticeable red weblike veins.

While spider veins are typically harmless, they can influence how you feel about your appearance. Dr. Barbara Bopp understands the affect spider veins can have on your self-esteem, and she offers in-office treatments to minimize their visibility.

Know your risk factors for spider veins

Spider veins in the legs are most common in people who sit or stand for extended periods of time due to their jobs or usual lifestyle habits. Remaining in one position for so long puts increased pressure on the veins of your legs, which are already fighting gravity to ensure good blood flow to the heart and the rest of your body.

Other risk factors for developing spider veins include:

  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Family history
  • Underlying medical conditions

You may also be more prone to spider veins if you use birth control or undergo hormone replacement therapy, as estrogen can cause weakness in your valves.

To treat or not to treat spider veins

The decision to treat spider veins is usually a personal one. Many people choose to address the unsightly veins for cosmetic purposes rather than medical ones.

Dr. Bopp offers comprehensive evaluation and treatment services for spider veins, first ensuring they aren’t posing any risks to your health. She can determine which treatment is right for your condition, based on your existing health and your medical history.

Available treatments for spider veins include:


Sclerotherapy is the standard of care for both spider veins and the more serious varicose veins. The procedure involves injections of a special chemical into the vein to destroy it. As the vein weakens and eventually collapses, your blood flow reroutes to nearby healthy veins.

Over time, your body reabsorbs the damaged vein. You’ll no longer be able to see them under the surface of your skin, which enhances the appearance of your legs and can boost your self-esteem.

Laser treatments

Laser technology is also available for sclerotherapy treatments. Dr. Bopp uses the enlighten™ laser to deliver specific wavelengths of laser energy that target the dark pigments of your blood. The blood in the vein absorbs the energy, which destroys its structure and causes the vein to collapse.

Once the veins are treated with injectable or laser sclerotherapy, they disappear for good. Because new veins can develop over time, Dr. Bopp works with you on strategies to prevent this from happening. She can recommend the right lifestyle changes, such as a low-salt diet and wearing supportive shoes, to reduce your risk for additional spider veins or the larger varicose veins.

You may also benefit from wearing compression socks, which improve the overall blood circulation in your legs. Blood flow can also be enhanced by regular exercise and elevating your legs above your heart when you’re relaxing.

To learn more about the benefits of sclerotherapy for treating spider veins, call Dr. Bopp’s office in Metairie, Louisiana, at 504-291-7391.