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Why are veins showing on the backs of my hands?

Natural aging is usually why we are seeing more and more bulging veins on the backs of our hands, but there can actually be a variety of reasons this happens:

  • Temporarily rising blood pressure & body temperature — During exercise or when we are working with our hands, blood flow increases in the area. This swells the veins. Veins also swell in warmer climates, such as here in Houston, as the body sends more blood to the surface of the skin to cool down. 

  • Weightlifting — Weightlifters often have raised, rope-like veins on their hands and lower arms because they develop hard muscles under them. 

  • Natural aging — As we age our skin thins and fat is redistributed away from the backs of the hands. Also, collagen production declines every year after our 20th birthday, so it does not provide the same framework to mask the veins on our hands.

  • Being underweight — If you are under your ideal body weight, your hand veins become more visible.

  • Phlebitis — Large veins can be due to the swelling and inflammation of phlebitis. 

  • Varicose veins — Although they are far more common on the legs, varicose veins can show up on the hands and arms. Varicose veins on the hands can be a sign of more serious health issues with your circulation.

  • Genetics — Some people are prone to bulging veins on their hands if their parents had the same condition.

What are the benefits of removing hand veins?

The backs of our hands are always out there for everyone to see. It is not as if we spend much time in gloves here in Newark. They also show aging quite dramatically due to the way our skin thins on the backs of the hands. That means your hands can be showing your age, and probably then some. 

Who is a good candidate for hand vein treatment?

If you have bulging, exposed veins on the backs of your hands, odds are you are a great candidate for treatment with our doctors. The only people not applicable for these treatments have active skin conditions or infections on the hand skin. As soon as the inflammation resolves, you can then have treatment to lessen the appearance of the veins.

How are hand veins treated?

The main method for removing these unsightly hand veins is sclerotherapy. Amazingly, sclerotherapy was first developed to treat varicose veins back in the 1930s, but it remains the gold standard for closing off unwanted veins. Some larger veins may need laser ablation or microphlebectomy. You can read about all three of these treatments in more detail on these pages on our site: Sclerotherapy, Laser ablation, Microphlebectomy

Here’s a brief overview of how to performs all three treatments:

  • Sclerotherapy — In this simple treatment, our doctors utilizes a sclerosant solution. This is typically either hypertonic saline or hypertonic dextrose or a combination of the two. The sclerosant is injected into the bulging vein and it irritates the vein walls, causing them to collapse inward. This closes off the vein. Any blood flowing through the vein is instantly redirected to an adjacent healthy vein. 

  • Endovenous Laser Ablation — Here the area above and around the unwanted vein is locally anesthetized. Then our doctors inserts a thin laser fiber into the vein. The laser is pulsed, and the light energy converts to heat. This heat makes the vein walls collapse. The laser fiber is pulled down the length of the vein until the entire unwanted visible vein is gone.

  • Microphlebectomy — As with laser ablation, the area is locally anesthetized. Next, our doctors makes a tiny incision on the surface skin of the back of the hand. These incisions are so small (basically the size of a ballpoint pen tip, 2-3 mm) they do not require sutures to close. Through these incisions, our doctors then inserts a small surgical hook. He grasps the unwanted vein and pulls out a section. Because the vein collapses, it can easily be drawn out through the tiny incision. This is repeated on remaining sections down the vein until it is completely removed. 

Is there recovery after hand vein treatment?

After these treatments for hand veins, we will have you wear compression gloves for 12 hours. This helps the body tighten down the skin in the area and begin the process of scavenging the now-unused vein. You can return to normal activity, but you will have to wait a day for strenuous activity. 

Will my hand veins reappear after treatment?

These are permanent treatments. The veins that are closed off will not once again begin handling blood. The body will scavenge and dispose of them. Obviously, in cases of microphlebectomy, the vein is physically removed, so it too is gone for good. 

You can develop new bulging veins, but for most people these treatments dramatically improve the appearance of their hands for the duration. 


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