The Six Stages of Varicose Veins for Early Detection

by | Nov 27, 2023

Explore the development of varicose veins through their six distinct stages from early symptoms to advanced complications. Learn when to take action for early detection and treatment.

happy women at the gym cycling

Introduction to Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are swollen and discolored blood vessels that have become twisted. They typically appear in the legs, feet, and ankles.  While some people suffer from minor spider veins that make them feel self-conscious, others experience pain and other discomfort that require treatment. The cause of varicose veins is delicate valves that transport blood from the heart to the rest of the body that have deteriorated.  Certain risk factors like obesity, aging, pregnancy, and genetics can make some people more susceptible to developing varicose veins.  Here is an overview of the six stages of vein diseases and how early treatment can prevent complications.

Stages of varicose veins. Credit: Yourobserver.com

Stage 1: Spider / Reticular Veins

Spider / reticular veins are the first sign of vein disease, and they present as superficial veins that aren’t yet protruding. These veins are blue or purple-colored and typically don’t cause any symptoms. Reticular veins are also referred to as spider veins.

Stage 2: Varicose Veins

Stage 2 of vein disease is varicose veins. During this stage, veins become larger and more noticeable, and symptoms sometimes develop. At this stage, people can experience pain, swelling, and inflammation. Effective treatment for stage 2 vein disease is compression stockings and exercise, although symptoms may sometimes recur after treatment.


Stage 3: Leg Swelling (Edema)

Stage 3 vein disease is characterized by the development of edema, as you will notice water retention in your legs and ankles. Compression stockings may or not be helpful at this stage, but symptoms will likely increase. Seeking treatment at this stage can improve quality of life by eliminating pain and other distressing symptoms. It can also prevent further progression and complications.

Stage 4: Skin Changes and Damage

If your vein disease advances to stage 4, you will notice skin changes and damage. You might notice colored lines on the skin, thickened skin, scar marks, and other visible damage. Swelling is still present, and you will likely experience significant discomfort, including pain, heaviness in your legs, and more. Veins and blood vessels, which is referred to as corona phlebectatica, may also become visible around your ankles at this stage. Specialized treatment can minimize skin changes and relieve symptoms.

    Stage 5: Healed Venous Ulcer

    Further complications will begin to manifest during this advanced stage of vein disease. You may notice ulcers that have formed and then healed on your legs. This can be painful, and treatment during this stage focuses on preventing further ulcers from forming.

    Stage 6: Open Venous Ulcer

    This is the most advanced stage of vein disease, and often the most painful. Not only will you continue to develop ulcers on your legs due to massive swelling and pressure, but these veins will remain open. Since they’re open, these ulcers are more susceptible to infection and must be treated promptly with special creams and covered with dressings. The goal during this stage is to reduce swelling, treat ulcers, and prevent them from becoming infected.

    Treatment for All Stages of Varicose Veins at Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic

    While beginning treatment as early as possible is ideal, not everyone can seek treatment in the beginning. At Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic in Singapore, our varicose veins specialist treats all stages of varicose veins using state-of-the-art treatments. Dr. Manish Taneja has been treating vein disease since 1995 using various interventional procedures and he will customize a treatment plan for you. Whether you’re tired of the uncomfortable symptoms of varicose veins, or you’d like your legs to return to their previous condition, contact us today to arrange an appointment and find relief and personalized care for your vein condition.

    Varicose Veins and Leg Swelling

    Leg swelling is a very common condition affecting patients in all age groups. It can be acute or chronic condition affecting one or both legs.

    Am I at Risk of Varicose Veins, Spider Veins, or Deep Vein Thrombosis?

    The appearance of varicose and spider veins on your body is nothing of immediate concern. If there are symptoms associated with them, schedule a visit with your doctor to diagnose and treat varicose veins. Spider veins, varicose veins, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can occur on individuals with all body types, genders, and ages. The following demographics may have a higher chance of experiencing them.

    • Those who are overweight (therefore, maintain a healthy weight to reduce the pressure)
    • Pregnant women
    • Females
    • Individuals between the ages of 40 and 80
    • Those who are inactive/not exercising (even sitting or standing for long periods)
    • Smoker
    • Frequent flyers
    • Those who have had surgery or leg trauma

    Varicose veins specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja, offers comprehensive care for varicose veins patients at Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic in Singapore.

    Assessment of Varicose Veins

    Clinical examination and ultrasound doppler scan are most important tools in assessment and deciding management of varicose veins. This takes about 15-20 minutes to do and is usually done in the clinic itself.

    Treatment of Varicose Veins

    There are various techniques available to treat varicose veins depending on clinical presentation. These include:

    • Conservative medical management including compression socks
    • Laser endovenous treatment (EVLT)
    • Radio-frequency endovenous ablation (RFA)
    • Clarivein endovenous treatment
    • VenaSeal endovenous closure system
    • Microwave endovenous ablation
    • Open surgery
    • Venous avulsions
    • Sclerotherapy
    • Cryolaser and cryosclerotherapy

    What are the Advantages of Minimally Invasive Treatments?

    • No major surgery
    • No or minimal visible scars
    • Quick recovery
    • Same day admission and discharge
    • Clinic based treatments

    Learn more about “Spider Veins: Types, Symptoms, and Treatment”. Although they might be a cosmetic concern, they can also lead to serious health issues. You might also be interested to find out more on our blog post, “Deep Vein Thrombosis: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment” about the difference between DVT and varicose veins.

    Consult a Vascular Specialist for Your Varicose Veins and Spider Veins

    Dr. Manish Taneja, a certified vascular and varicose veins specialist in Singapore, has extensive experience in the treatment of all vascular interventions and looks after venous diseases like varicose veins, spider veins, and reticular veins. Come in for a further evaluation and contact us to arrange  your varicose veins appointment today.


    Dr. Manish Taneja performing surgery

    Varicose Veins Resources

    Explore our varicose veins and spider veins resources for patients. Gain insight into the diagnosis and treatment of varicose and spider veins conditions, their underlying causes, symptoms, and complications. Connect with your vascular health.

    Keep Varicose Veins and Spider Veins at Bay

    If your legs feel sore persistently, achy when standing long periods, or maybe you notice blue or purple veins even bulging in the area, chances are these symptoms of varicose veins and spider veins could lead to other serious venous diseases such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI), or Leg Swelling due to increased pressure forming larger blood clots over time. Varicose veins are fully treatable with minimally invasive procedures and treatments offering minimal downtime and quick recovery preventing further complications. Long term effects of untreated varicose veins can hinder your daily life and impact your health.

    The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic in Singapore is here to diagnose and treat varicose veins smoothening patients’ experience to find relief and comfort. As a vascular and interventional radiology specialist based in Singapore, Dr. Manish Taneja looks after a spectrum of venous diseases, peripheral vascular malformations, and peripheral arterial disease. Dr. Manish Taneja also has extensive experience in performing all vascular interventions, non-vascular interventions and interventional oncology procedures.

    Other Health Conditions

    The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is your “go-to” facility for various conditions and treatments. To arrange an appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, our varicose veins specialist, contact us. You can also call us at (+65) 6904 8084 for a consultation.