Before you consider any type of varicose vein treatment on your reticular veins, you’ll first need to more fully understand what they are. Size wise, reticular veins are larger than spider veins but have a smaller diameter than regular veins, typically in the two to three millimeter size range. They are found just under the thin layer of the epidermis in the lower portion of the dermis called the reticular dermis. In order words, they are not deep veins but are not right at the surface either.
Reticular veins occur most often on the back of the knee but may also occur anywhere on the back or inner thigh or on the back of the calf. Less commonly, they occur on the face. Typically they are blue in color, which is why some vein doctors simply refer to them as “blue veins.” However, they can also be greenish blue in color and the exact color has nothing to do with whether they are bad or not. Unlike larger varicose veins, reticular veins will usually not bulge out from the skin, although you may see them slightly raised after strenuous exercise.
The best type of treatment for reticular veins is usually sclerotherapy. However, if your reticular veins are fed by any part of the saphenous vein, then you may need to undergo varicose vein treatment on this larger vein first. In a few cases, your vein doctor may recommend phlebectomy (surgical removal) of your reticular veins if he or she believes sclerotherapy may cause “staining.” This is where the ablated reticular vein causes a semi-permanent or permanent discoloration of your skin.
It is important to note that many times people have reticular veins that do not need varicose vein treatment for medical purposes. This is especially true in fair complected people who have translucent skin. Sometimes these veins just show through this type of skin without there being anything wrong with them. If this is the case, you can still elect to have cosmetic varicose vein treatment on your reticular veins if their appearance bothers you, but in these cases, your insurance will usually not cover the procedure.
The best way to find out if your reticular veins are damaged is to make an appointment with a reputable varicose vein treatment clinic like Metro Vein Centers and have them conduct a duplex ultrasound scan. This will allow you, your ultrasound tech, and the vein doctor to have a good look inside your reticular veins to determine if there is any vein damage causing a “reflux” (blood going the wrong way) of your circulation in this region. A duplex ultrasound scan will also show other potential abnormalities such as a weakening of the wall of your reticular veins and or a blood clot forming.
The cause of the reticular veins being a bit gnarly could be a problem in a feeder vein that you can’t even see through the surface of your skin, even if you have translucent skin. In these cases, the only way to know for sure is to get the duplex ultrasound test. While it is perfectly normal to have some degree of trepidation when getting any new medical procedure, rest assured that getting a duplex ultrasound is about the most comfortable procedure you’ll ever get in a doctor’s office! There are no needles involved. All you will feel is a warm gel like substance sliding over your skin! In a different setting you could even call it a tender massage! You’ll also get to see a three dimensional image of your veins popping up on the screen which can be rather fun to observe! So, as medical procedures go, this one is about as good as it gets.
If your vein doctor does recommend sclerotherapy for your reticular veins, don’t worry too much about this procedure either. Although there is a needle involved, it is an extremely tiny one and you’ll only feel the tiniest prick. Once the needle is in, they will inject a solution into your problem veins that will cause them to collapse down on themselves, closing them off from circulation, and causing them to be reabsorbed by the body. Some people feel a very slight “stinging” sensation but there will be no more pain than the snap of a small rubberband. Sclerotherapy is actually one of the easiest forms of varicose vein treatment you can receive.
If you’d like, you can get a free initial appointment at Metro Vein Clinics. This will tell you if you actually need varicose vein treatment and it will put you in touch with some of the top experts in the country on the various types of varicose vein treatments. Unlike other specialty clinics, you do not need to get a referral. Just give Metro a call and they’ll fit you in.