Spider Veins – A Serious and Dangerous Medical Condition.

Prevention or Reversal of Deep Venous Insufficiency and Treatment:
Why Are Spider Veins of the Legs a Serious and Dangerous Medical Condition?

Imtiaz Ahmad M.D., F.A.C.S a, b, Waheed Ahmad M.D., F.A.C.S c, d a Cardiothoracic and Vascular Associates (Comprehensive Vein Treatment Center), Hamilton, NJ, USA b Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Hamilton, NJ, USA. c Comprehensive Vein Treatment Center of Kentuckiana, New Albany, IN 47150, USA. d Clinical professor of surgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA.


Spider veins (also known as spider hemangiomas) unlike varicose veins (dilated pre-existing veins) are acquired lesions caused by venous hypertension leading to proliferation of blood vessels in the skin and subcutaneous tissues due to the release of endothelial growth factors causing vascular neogenesis. More than 60% of the patients with spider veins of the legs have significant symptoms including pain, itching, burning, swelling, phlebitis, cellulites, bleeding, and ulceration. Untreated spider veins may lead to serious medical complications including superficial and deep venous thrombosis, aggravation of the already established venous insufficiency, hemorrhage, postphlebitic syndrome, chronic leg ulceration, and pulmonary embolism. Untreated spider vein clusters are also responsible for persistent low-grade inflammation; many recent peer-reviewed medical studies have shown a definite association of chronic inflammation with obesity, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. Clusters of spider veins have one or more incompetent perforator veins connected to the deeper veins causing reflux overflow of blood that is responsible for their dilatation and eventual incompetence. The spider veins are, therefore, a manifestation of venous insufficiency. The medical literature shows that superficial venous insufficiency can cause deep venous insufficiency; and the treatment of superficial venous insufficiency leads to recovery of deep venous insufficiency. Furthermore, the results of this study show that complete and aggressive treatment of superficial venous lesions accomplishes better results as compared to patients in whom spider veins were left untreated. 

Imtiaz Ahmad, MD

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