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How do I get checked for spider veins?

How do I know whether I have spider veins and if they are treatable? If I go to a doctor, will insurance cover the check-up for spider veins?


Doctors Answers (6)

Spider veins are small, thread-like red to purple colored veins that are easily visible on the skin surface. These veins are considered cosmetic and not covered by insurance. Spider veins are easily treated with sclerotherapy for the legs and laser can be used for the face, neck and chest.

True "spider veins" are abnormal veins in the skin measuring less than 1 mm in diameter. Most spider veins cause no symptoms, but it is not uncommon for larger abnormal veins to be under the surface of the skin, which may cause pain, tenderness, or swelling at the ankle. Pain, tenderness, or swelling are important reasons to see a vein specialist to identify the cause of the symptoms and this work-up usually is covered by insurance plans. Coverage for treatment of spider veins without symptoms usually is not available.

Treatment of spider veins is not medically necessary, so therefore will not be covered by insurance. If you have bulging varicose veins, this is often due to an underlying medical problem and is often covered by most insurance companies. You can have your family doctor take a look or go to a vein center where you can be evaluated.

Spider veins fine red, blue or purple veins on the surface of the skin. Varicose are those which are raised and much larger (over 3 mm) and somewhat wormlike in appearance. The treatment of these is best done in a vascular surgery office that specializes in treating these veins. Your initial exam will include ultrasound transillumination to look for "feeder" veins. These are considered cosmetic in nature unless there are underlying deeper vein issues which cause you symptoms or bleeding. Most clinics offers complimentary consultations if cosmetic.

If you have symptoms - pain, aching, heaviness, swelling, bleeding veins, phlebitis, etc. - then insurance may cover it.

Spider veins are visible small surface veins that can look like a spider or a little bush. You would know if you have them, so you do not need to be "checked" for them. Occasionally, they can be isolated little pink or purple fine, hair-like strands. Spider vein treatment is always cosmetic, so it is not charged to your insurance company. Sometimes spider veins are present because there is a problem with a larger vein system that is not working properly. If you have symptoms in your legs like aching, itching, night cramps, ankle swelling and fatigue, that could indicate a more important problem in veins that are not visible. An ultrasound evaluation would be ordered for evaluation. A vein specialist could determine what testing and treatment might be needed.

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