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          Enlarged Breast Veins: Causes and Treatments

          Reviewed by: Mitchel P. Goldman, MD

          Most women receive information about the possible side effects that may occur following breast augmentation with implants. Their surgeon will also discuss some of the more common complications and offer advice on how they can be prevented.

          A later-stage "complication" — which in reality is not a "complication" so much as a relative abnormality — is enlarged breast veins and spider veins. These veins may be more pronounced on one breast, but usually occur on both. Some are bluish and appear on the surface of the breast, while others appear beneath the breasts (usually in the form of spider veins or broken capillaries). In most cases breast veins are barely noticeable, but sometimes they can be prominent, especially in very pale-skinned women.

          Breast Vein Causes

          Causes of enlarged breast veins and spider veins on the breast include:

          • Pregnancy
          • Hormones
          • Weight gain
          • Mondor's disease. This is a rare disease characterized by superficial inflammation of the breast veins. It is associated with trauma to the area.

          These veins may disappear naturally, but sometimes treatment is needed.

          It is worth noting that enlarged breast veins are rarely associated with breast cancer.

          Breast Vein Treatments

          Breast vein treatment may include:

          Laser therapy

          Lasers heat and close the problem vein. However, they are only effective on the smallest veins — usually less than 1mm in diameter.

          Sclerotherapy

          This treatment involves injecting a solution directly into the vein, causing its destruction. Foam sclerotherapy involves mixing the same medical detergent solution with air or carbon dioxide. It may work more efficiently and effectively in breast veins.

          If you are concerned about protruding veins in your breast, schedule a visit with your physician for a complete evaluation. He or she should be able to refer you to a specialist who treats enlarged breast veins and spider veins. Cost varies based on the size and scope of the problem veins, and the treatment method chosen. Insurance rarely covers the cost of treatments that are deemed purely cosmetic. Financing plans are available if the out-of-pocket costs are prohibitive.

          About the Reviewer of this Article

          Mitchel P. Goldman, MD, is the founder and medical director of Goldman Butterwick Fitzpatrick Groff & Fabi: Cosmetic Laser Dermatology in San Diego. There, he directs the fellowship program accredited by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. He also is a Volunteer Clinical Professor in Medicine/Dermatology at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Goldman is the 2013-14 President of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. He is founder and past president of the American College of Phlebology and past president of the San Diego Dermatological Society and the Sonoran Dermatology Society.

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