In between the large, ropy varicose veins and the thin, web-like spider veins is another type of varicose vein. They are called reticular veins, and they can potentially cause both cosmetic and physical problems.
In size, at one to three millimeters in diameter, reticular veins are smaller than varicose veins and larger than spider veins. They usually appear on the back of the leg around the ankle or knee, but can also be found on the face.
Reticular veins often extend out of existing varicose veins. They may appear by themselves as a blue or green web of veins, but they also sometimes are known as “feeder veins.”
That’s because they can supply spider veins in the leg or face. When spider veins are removed but the underlying reticular veins that feed them remain, the spider veins will return.
Unlike spider veins, reticular veins sometimes cause pain and itchiness just as varicose veins do, and when doctors diagnose reticular veins they will look for underlying problems in the legs that might indicate more extensive vein disease.
If you suspect you may have varicose or spider veins, come in for a consultation. A vein doctor will examine your legs with ultrasound that will show your veins and any problems. That will allow the physician to determine whether reticular veins are the result of deeper varicose veins. With your doctor, you can work out a treatment plan.
Reticular veins can be treated with the same modern procedures that are used on spider veins and varicose veins.