Superficial venous insufficiency (SVI) is a common condition that occurs when there is decreased blood flow from the leg veins up to the heart.1 Without adequate flow, the blood can pool in the leg veins and result in common conditions, such as spider veins, reticular veins and varicose veins.
Approximately 25 million people in the United States suffer from varicose veins—enlarged blue, red, or flesh-colored veins that are raised above the surface of the skin.2 Like varicose veins, spider veins are also swollen veins that appear through the skin, but are closer to its surface and resemble tree branches with short, jagged lines. Although spider veins are not usually symptomatic, the accompanying reticular veins, found deeper in the skin, often cause discomfort. Reticular veins are also referred to as “feeder” veins. These vessels are smaller branches which can originate from bigger varicose veins.
All three types of venous problems appear on the thighs, backs of the calves, or ankles. Although not life-threatening, SVI can cause problematic skin changes and can progress over time.