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Are Spider Veins on the Rib Cage a Sign of Liver Disease?

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The appearance of spider veins is a minor cosmetic concern for many people. However, this venous condition may also be a symptom of a more serious disease in one of the organs in the body like the liver.

So are spider veins on the rib cage a sign of liver disease? While spider veins are mostly harmless, there are signs that you should look out for, especially if you’re worried about having liver problems. Common indicators of liver problems include tiredness, bloated feeling, swollen glands, jaundice, and pain around the abdomen’s upper right side.

However, it’s important for you to consult a vein specialist first to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Spider Veins and Liver Dysfunction: Are They Connected?

According to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, about 40% of American women suffer from different vein conditions like varicose veins and spider veins. Spider angioma is a type of vascular lesion that appears as a cluster of small, visible veins just beneath the surface of the skin. This condition is commonly caused by several factors – like venous insufficiency, sun damage, injuries, hormonal changes, and other health complications.

Spider angioma is similar to spider veins, but it has a red spot in the center of the clustered veins. Spider veins may appear anywhere on the body, but they’re commonly found on the legs and face. Some people may also find spider veins along their upper body and near their rib cage, which might be an indication of a fatty liver problem.

Is the Appearance of Spider Veins Caused by Liver Problems?

Spider veins are usually not a huge medical concern if the patient has good overall health. However, it may also be a sign of liver damage. It’s important to consult a doctor immediately if the patient experiences other symptoms that are related to liver problems.

Spider veins may appear near the rib cage if the blood clots and the fat builds up in the area. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a category of several health conditions that occurs when there is an unhealthy fat buildup in the liver. This disease usually affects obese and overweight people who have a sedentary lifestyle.

When to See a Doctor for Spider Veins on the Ribs

Spider veins are harmless most of the time. However, patients who experience pain or discomfort in the spider veins on their ribs should consult a doctor immediately. They should also watch out for other signs of liver problems such as:

  • Tiredness
  • Bloated feeling
  • Swollen glands
  • Jaundice
  • Pain around the abdomen’s upper right side

If you’re feeling these health concerns, it’s important to see a doctor immediately for an abdominal ultrasound and liver biopsy. These tests help the patient and doctor find out if the spider vein development is a sign of chronic liver injury or other liver problems. 

Other Risk Factors for Spider Veins on the Skin

Aside from liver problems, spider veins may also develop on the skin because of different risk factors, such as:

  • Obesity – Excess weight adds pressure on the body, particularly on the legs. This increases the patient’s risk of developing spider veins.
  • Genes and Heredity – People who have a family history of spider veins also have high chances of developing them. This risk increases as a person get older.
  • Hormonal Imbalance – An increase in the body’s estrogen levels weakens the vein valves, which is why women on birth control pills and hormonal treatments are more likely to develop spider veins more than others.
  • History of Vein Damage or Blood Clot – Damaged valves affect blood flow and prevent the veins from working properly. This causes the blood to pool in the veins and become visible underneath the skin.
  • Skin Injuries – Injuries on the skin often result in bruising and broken blood vessels. While some of them eventually heal, spider veins might stay on the skin without proper treatment.
  • Sudden Pressure Increase – Too much pressure exerted in the abdomen like constipation and the presence of tumors also increase the chances of developing spider veins on the skin. Externally worn tight garments like girdles may also result in spider veins near the rib cage.

4 Ways to Treat Spider Veins on the Rib Cage

One of the best ways to treat spider veins on the rib cage is to find out its root cause and treat the underlying medical condition. But if the doctor concludes that the appearance of spider veins isn’t related to organ failure, they may recommend treating the spider veins using one of the following procedures:


Endovenous Laser Treatment is a vein removal procedure that involves inserting a tiny laser fiber into the affected vein. This allows the vein specialist to precisely deliver pulses of light inside the vein, causing it to collapse. The blood from the closed vein reroutes to other healthy veins until the damaged vein is no longer visible on the skin’s surface.

Learn more: Laser Treatment for Spider Veins

Sclerotherapy Vein Treatments

This spider vein removal treatment is one of the most commonly used methods in erasing visible veins on the skin. It involves directly injecting a sclerosing agent (a highly concentrated saline solution) into the damaged vein until it gradually disappears after a few weeks. The entire treatment is simple and inexpensive, which is why many patients opt for this treatment than others.

Laser Therapy

Laser technology is often used to treat several skin conditions, including varicose veins, reticular veins, and spider veins. Laser treatments deliver heat energy directly to the damaged veins, causing them to collapse and disappear after a few treatments.

IPL Therapy

This type of spider vein treatment works similarly to laser therapy, but it reaches the deeper layers of the skin to reach the affected veins better. IPL therapy does its job without causing more damage to the surrounding veins and tissues. However, this treatment requires more treatment sessions than laser therapy.

Learn more: Blue Light Therapy for Spider Veins: Does It Work?

Is it Possible to Prevent the Appearance of Spider Veins?

Spider veins appear on different parts of the body because of different reasons. Although it’s difficult to prevent them from forming altogether, there are a few ways to help minimize the patient’s risk of developing spider veins, such as:

  • Avoid hormone therapy if it’s not necessary
  • Protect the skin from prolonged sun exposure by wearing sunscreen
  • Keep the alcohol intake low to moderate
  • Treat the chronic liver disease or other underlying medical condition as soon as possible

Erase Spider Veins on the Ribs with Vein Center Doctor

Get accurate medical advice and diagnosis for the appearance of spider veins on the ribs by consulting with some of the best vein specialists in NY and NJ here at Vein Center Doctor. Our experienced staff has years of training and experience in identifying the cause of spider veins and providing the right advice and treatment for you.

Experience the best treatments for the spider veins on your rib cage today by booking an appointment with us. To learn more about Vein Center Doctor and our services, call our office or visit our website today.

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