Swollen Veins in Hands

Do the veins at the back of your hands appear more prominent? Scroll down to find out what causes swollen veins in hands and how can these be treated.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
Woman with pillow
Veins are blood vessels that perform the vital function of carrying blood to the heart. They are categorized into deep veins and superficial veins. Deep veins lie deeper in the body, while the superficial veins lie close to the surface of the skin. Deep veins are generally located beside an artery. These carry a substantial amount of blood.

The superficial veins are visible due to their closeness to the surface of the skin. Veins carry deoxygenated blood from various parts of the body to the heart. It is only the pulmonary vein that carries oxygen-rich blood from the lungs to the heart. Valves within the veins control the flow of blood. These valves also prevent blood from flowing back to the veins.
Conditions Affecting the Veins
Veins could be affected by various disorders. These include:
  • Phlebitis (Inflammation of veins)
  • Deep vein thrombosis (Formation of a blood clot within a deep vein)
  • Superficial vein thrombosis (Formation of blood clot within a superficial vein)
  • Thrombophlebitis (Inflammation of veins due to a blood clot)
  • Varicose veins (Swollen and twisted veins)
  • Spider veins (Clusters of small veins that lie close to the surface of the skin)

Veins that become swollen, enlarged or twisted due to the failure of valves are referred to as varicose veins. When the venous valves don't function normally, blood accumulates in the veins. This condition usually affects the veins in the legs. Damaged valves can also cause spider veins. Spider veins are closer to the surface of the skin. These are smaller than varicose veins. These could be red, blue or purple in color.
Venous Conditions that are a Cause of Cosmetic Concern
While some of these venous conditions could be a cause of serious concern, swollen veins at the back of the hands are considered to be a cosmetic problem. The veins in the dorsum of the back of the hand often appear to be more prominent in the elderly. Various bodily changes are a part and parcel of the inevitable process of aging.

As we age, our skin loses its elasticity. This leads to wrinkles and fine lines on the skin. The superficial veins on the dorsum could appear more prominent due to the loss of adipose tissue in the inter-tendon spaces. Aging can also affect the elasticity of the walls of the veins. As the skin becomes thinner or fragile, the superficial veins in the hands become more visible.

Veins might also look more prominent due to significant weight loss. Intravenous administration of drugs or increased blood volume during pregnancy could also be contributory factors.
Treatment Options
Bulging veins on the dorsum of the hand is mainly a cosmetic problem, but one can consult a medical expert to ascertain whether the veins appear swollen as a result of aging, or an underlying medical condition is causing them to swell up. If the veins are healthy, there is not really a need to undergo surgical procedures.

However, certain procedures can be employed if one is keen on getting rid of these hand veins for cosmetic reasons. Injectable dermal fillers can be used to plump up thin hands.
Sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy is another method that is used for the treatment of varicose veins. This procedure involves injecting the veins with a sclerosant. This causes the walls of such veins to constrict and the flow of blood is cut off. Eventually, the vein fades away. This procedure may leave behind a mark on the skin over the affected vein.
Endovenous Laser Ablation
Endovenous laser ablation is a minimally invasive procedure wherein laser fiber is inserted into the swollen vein. The heat causes the vein to collapse and fade. The laser procedure is more expensive than sclerotherapy.
Ambulatory Phlebectomy
Ambulatory phlebectomy is another procedure that can be used for correcting varicosities. This procedure is performed by making small incisions and extracting these veins with a phlebectomy hook.
Vein Stripping and Vein Ligation
Vein stripping and vein ligation are other procedures that are used for treating varicose veins. Vein ligation involves tying off the vein to cut off the blood supply. For vein stripping, the upper portion of the swollen vein is first tied and then removed.
If swollen veins are making your hands look ugly, you can seek medical assistance to learn the best solution. However, there's a great need to find out all about the risks associated with these procedures.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.
Elder Woman Hands