Spider veins are also known as telangectasias, and are often the earliest manifestation of venous disease. They are formed by small skin veins that become dilated and are visible through the skin's surface. They can be blue, purple or red and are frequently extensive, forming various patterns of linear, starburst, or tree-like distribution. But even though they may look innocuous, they are often indicative of venous insufficiency in the larger veins (such as the greater saphenous vein).
Patients often walk into the office with spider veins, expecting a few injections to cure them instantly. In fact, if the underlying problem of venous insufficiency exists, then injections may not work, and new spider veins may soon form.
Therefore, even patients with these small spider veins may need further investigation as to whether or not there is underlying venous disease.