Spider veins, also known as telangiectasias, are small, thin blood vessels visible beneath the skin. They appear most commonly on the legs and may look like a series of lines, tree branches, or a spider- or web-like shape, with a red or blue color. While most cases of spider veins are of purely cosmetic concern, some patients may also experience uncomfortable symptoms such as aching, burning, swelling, and cramping from this condition.
Many patients are bothered by the appearance of spider veins on prominent areas in the legs and seek treatment to restore a smooth, clear appearance. Many of these treatments are highly effective and minimally invasive, offering aesthetically-pleasing results without painful or lengthy downtimes.
Causes of Spider Veins
Spider veins develop as a result of a backup of blood in certain veins, which may occur when the valves in the veins cannot effectively keep blood from flowing backwards as it moves up the legs. As blood collects in the vein, it begins to expand and becomes visible under the surface of the skin.
They are common in the legs because of the fact that blood flow must work against gravity to travel back up to the heart. This condition affects nearly half of all adults over the age of 50 in the US, and may occur as a result of hormonal changes, pregnancy, obesity, sun exposure and more.
Your doctor can diagnose spider veins through a physical examination and will determine an appropriate treatment method based on a thorough evaluation of your condition and medical history. An ultrasound may be performed to evaluate the severity of the condition and identify the underlying cause to ensure the most effective treatment approach.
Treatment of Spider Veins
There are several minimally invasive treatment options available to eliminate the appearance of spider veins and allow patients to proudly show off their legs. These treatments offer patients fewer side effects, less pain and shorter recovery times than traditional surgical vein removal procedures.
The standard treatment for both spider and varicose veins is sclerotherapy, which involving injecting a sclerosing solution into the affected veins, causing them to gradually disappear. This procedure is performed in the doctor’s office and takes no more than an hour. Most patients require two to four treatment sessions in order to achieve their desired results.
Additional treatment options for spider veins may include endovenous laser treatment (EVLT), which treats large veins by passing a laser fiber through a catheter directly into the vein. The laser seals off the affected veins and diverts blood flow to nearby healthy veins, thoroughly eradicating the Veins just under the surface of the skin can be effectively treated with this procedure.
Mild cases of spider veins may also be treated with compression stockings to put pressure on the veins and promote normal blood flow. Your doctor will decide which type of treatment is best for your condition.
Preventing Spider Veins
While there is no sure way to prevent spider veins from developing, there are certain life modifications that can help reduce the risk of developing this unsightly conditions, including losing weight, exercising regularly, wearing support hoses and wearing comfortable, flat shoes. It is important to move the legs frequently, especially if your job requires long periods of sitting or standing in one place. Your doctor will provide you with specific guidelines to effectively reduce the risk of spider veins and enjoy smooth, beautiful legs for many years.