August 19, 2023

What Are Reticular Veins?

Reticular veins are small (2 to 3mm in diameter) blue-purple veins that are often seen along with varicose veins. They tend to appear on the inner thigh or back of the knee and sometimes appear close to the ankle. Unlike varicose veins, they do not protrude above the skin’s surface.

Like varicose veins, reticular veins develop when the walls of your veins become weak or damaged, and the valves inside your veins are no longer functioning properly. In these conditions, gravity pulls blood down through faulty valves into the lower parts of your leg where it pools because the veins can’t push the blood back to the heart. This can cause the veins to enlarge and swell up, and they look like unattractive marbled-looking blemishes on the skin.

Though reticular veins do not cause pain or other symptoms, they may be an early warning sign of more serious vascular issues, including varicose and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Regular exercise, wearing compression socks, losing weight, elevating your legs when sitting, and avoiding prolonged standing are all excellent ways to improve blood flow and decrease the chance of developing reticular veins.

In many cases, reticular veins can be treated with ultrasound guided sclerotherapy, or mini-phlebectomy. In these procedures, a vein specialist inserts a needle into the abnormal vein and injects a safe chemical irritant — either a liquid or foam – into the vein. This irritates the vein and causes it to close as the walls stick together. The blood is then rerouted to healthier veins and the reticular vein fades over time. If these treatment options are not effective, then other vein treatments such as endovenous laser ablation or medical-grade vein glue can be used to seal off these internal feeding veins.


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