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What are spider veins?

This question was asked in Davenport, Iowa and has 5 answer(s) as of 09/03/2013.
I know what spider veins look like both my parents have them but what are they actually? Does insurance cover getting them removed?


Doctors Answers (5)

Spider Veins are dilated small veins called telangiectasias. They are generally considered a cosmetic condition and not covered by insurance.

Spider veins are veins that no longer function normally. Often spider veins are only the tip of the iceberg. Many people who have spider veins also have reticular veins and varicose veins. Varicose veins are not always visible to the naked eye. Insurance does cover treatment of symptomatic chronic venous insufficiency. Many people have symptoms and are not aware that their veins may be the cause. A complete vein evaluation by your phlebologist will help you understand more of what you have and what you can do to help long term.

Spider veins and telangiectasias are small dilated capillaries and blood vessels that range from the smallest red colored veins to the larger purple vessels near the surface of the skin. These surface vessels are usually asymptomatic and often located along the outer and posterior thighs, knees, shins and ankles. The causes include increased venous pressure in the deeper blue reticular veins, pregnancies, traumas and injuries, and are also influenced by estrogen and other hormone levels. Insurance companies typically consider these "cosmetic" and "not deserving medical coverage", so treatment would be an out-of-pocket expense. Sclerotherapy injections for spider veins in our office cost $450 for 1 session.

"Spider veins", known in medicine as telangiectasia, are tiny abnormal veins within the skin measuring no more than 1 mm in diameter. They are veins which have enlarged over time. Often, there are larger veins called reticular veins under the surface of the skin which feed venous blood under pressure into the spider veins. Ths especially is true if there is a cluster of spider veins. While some small spider veins can be treated with external LASER treatment, many will not resolve or will recur very quickly because of the high venous pressures in underlying reticular veins which will not respond to LASER treatment. Sclerotherapy injections into the reticular veins and spider veins will effectively treat most spider veins. If the reticular veins are not treated, results may be disappointing.

No, insurance does not pay to treat them unless they bleed or you have other symptoms and have tried and failed conservative measures. Usually they do not cover spider vein treatments.

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