Spider veins, also known as telangiectasias (tel-AN-juh-ek-TA-ze-uhs), are small thin blood vessels that lie close to the surface of the skin. Spider veins usually appear on the legs, face, or chest—but can occur in other locations. They’re red or blue and usually look like a spider web or tree branch. Spider veins can be purely a cosmetic concern or may indicate an underlying condition.
Varicose (VAR-i-kos) veins are enlarged, twisted blood vessels with valves that do not work properly. Veins are the blood vessels of your body that carry blood back to your heart using a series of one-way valves. When the venous valves fail, blood is not circulated properly. The leaky valves cause blood to back up and pool inside the vein. This creates increased pressure and stretches the vein wall, causing enlarged and twisted blood vessels. These swollen vessels appear under your skin as blue, bumpy, rope-like veins called varicose veins.
An ulcer is a non-healing sore in the skin. Most people associate leg ulcers with diabetes or arterial disease. The fact is that over 70% of leg ulcers are caused by vein problems. Over time, chronic venous disease can cause skin changes and skin breakdowns, resulting in open sores that are referred to as venous ulcers. Venous leg ulcers are the ultimate problem to affect individuals with seriously diseased leg veins because they represent a late stage of lower extremity vein disease.
Pelvic varicose veins can appear in the groin region, buttocks or even on the vagina and labia. They often appear in women after pregnancy. For some women, they do not cause pain and are more of a cosmetic issue, and can be embarrassing. Patients often report that these veins make them feel too self-conscious to wear bathing suits. These veins can become swollen and painful. They can be associated with significant pelvic pain as part of a syndrome called Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS).