For many, visible veins in the arms and hands are undesirable and do not look good. It is understandable when patients seek treatment to remove bulging veins in these parts of the body. There are effective treatments for this condition. However, in most cases, it is normal and there is no real disease to treat. Although, we do remove veins in the arms and hands, we recommend considering non-treatment because these veins are needed for peripheral IV’s and can be very important in an emergency.

Causes and Symptoms

There are various factors that can cause veins to bulge on the surface of the arms or hands.

  • Body Fat – One common cause of veins bulging in the arms and is low body fat. Low body fat can cause veins protrude more since there is less fat surrounding the veins. People who are generally under weight or who have thin hands can have veins which appear large.
  • Exercise – Another common cause of prominent protruding hand veins and arms veins is exercise. Exercise delivers lots more blood to the muscles, and veins return that blood to the heart. Athletes have larger veins than non-athletes, and that’s okay.
  • Genetics – Genetics can play a strong role in determining if you have varicose veins which includes your arms and hands.
  • Age – As we age, the skin that covers our muscles and veins becomes thinner and causes veins on many parts of our bodies, including arms and hands, to become more prominent.

Treatments for bulging veins in the hands or arms

Prominent hand veins and arms veins are usually cosmetic. Only sometimes disease is the cause of this condition. Because the veins are normal, we rarely recommend cosmetic surgery yet, treatments are available.

  • Sclerotherapy – Sclerotherapy is the most common treatment for arm and hand veins. It is a procedure where a sclerosing solution is injected into the veins. The solution irritates the lining of the vein wall which causes it to close and eventually disappear. This is usually performed on smaller veins.
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy – Phlebectomy refers to the removal of veins through small incisions, sometimes in an ambulatory surgery setting. This is more invasive than sclerotherapy, and typically leaves small scar.
  • Vein ablation – Typically, radiofrequency ablation is not commonly performed on the veins in the arms but in some cases it may.

Costs and Insurance Coverage For Treatment of Veins on Hands And Arms

Unfortunately, removing veins on the hands and arms is considered cosmetic and is not covered by insurance. The typical treatment using sclerotherapy is the same cost as sclerotherapy on the legs. Your doctor can evaluate you to see if other treatments are necessary.

Are veins in the arm and hands necessary to treat?

Enlarged arm veins are typically not pathologic and removing them is a cosmetic procedure. Furthermore, arm veins are very important because they are used for critical IV access during hospitalizations, for giving blood, and getting lab tests done, for receiving critical fluids, antibiotics, chemotherapy, and other drugs. They can also be needed for creating dialysis access in the arm, should you ever need dialysis from kidney failure.