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Spider Vein Treatment Options

For most individuals considering treatment, spider veins are a cosmetic rather than a medical issue.  Understanding the basics of this vascular disorder and the spider vein treatment options available can help reduce patient stress.

Overview of Spider Veins

Spider veins are visible signs of venous insufficiency.  According to the American College of Phlebology, patients with this underlying vascular disorder are likely to experience:

  • Feelings of heaviness in a leg
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Swollen legs
  • Leg cramping
  • Leg fatigue
  • Itching

Spider veins get their name from their web-like appearance.  These small vessels are usually red, blue, or purple and typically develop on a patient’s legs or face.  They are similar to varicose veins but are smaller and usually closer to the surface of the skin.

These vessels form when veins previously too tiny to be seen stretch because of defective valves that allow blood to leak backward and pool.  As the veins expand, they become visible as streaks or clusters. 

Physicians recognize quite a few causes of spider veins, the Cleveland Clinic reports.  The most common include:

  • Family history
  • Growing older
  • Being obese or overweight
  • Hormonal shifts
  • Prolonged standing or sitting
  • Vein injury

Choices for Spider Vein Treatment

Treatment for spider veins is available on an outpatient basis from a physician who specializes in vascular problems.  The goal of some treatments is preventing the condition from worsening or lessening the chances that new spider veins will develop.  Other therapies eliminate existing veins.  Depending on the severity of each case, a patient might undergo a mixture of treatment options. 

The three categories of treatment include:

  • Conservative measures often require lifestyle modifications like losing weight, avoiding tight clothing and shoes, wearing compression stockings, getting more exercise, elevating the legs whenever possible, following good skin hygiene, and not crossing the legs.
  • Sclerotherapy is the most common method of eliminating spider veins.  Doctors sometimes also use it to treat small varicose veins.  Many doctors combine the technique with ultrasound for precision.  Using a small needle, the physician injects a substance called a sclerosant into each targeted vessel.  The sclerosant irritates the walls of the vein, causing them to become sticky and the vein to close and eventually disappear.  Healthy vessels assume the workload of the destroyed vein.  The number of sessions required depends on the size, number, and location of the vessels targeted for elimination.  With the exception of strenuous activities, patients are usually able to resume their normal routines the following day.
  • Laser and light therapy use heat to shrink and eliminate spider veins.  Several sessions might be required for laser treatment.  Pulse-light therapy relies on sending out a spectrum of light and is useful for selectively shrinking spider veins, vascular birthmarks, and certain small varicose veins.

No treatment to eliminate veins can prevent new ones from developing.  For this reason, some patients return for periodic treatment.

 

 

Choosing the Right Type of Vein Treatment

Upload: October 1, 2015

Many different types of vein treatment are available. Depending on the nature of your condition, some forms of treatment may be more effective than others. Below is a guide to help you choose the right type of vein treatment for your condition.

Treatments for Spider Veins

Spider veins are small dilated blood vessels that can be located anywhere on the body. Because they are close to the surface of the skin, they are usually visible. Because spider veins can be embarrassing, many people seek treatment.

If your spider veins are not too large, widespread or serious, you may be able to improve the condition through conservative treatments, such as losing weight, elevating your legs, wearing special socks and avoiding long periods of standing. However, in many cases, spider veins must be treated with sclerotherapy. When you undergo sclerotherapy, the doctor will inject a medication under your skin that causes spider veins to collapse. Depending on the severity of the case, sclerotherapy may be performed with or without ultrasound guidance.

Treatments for Varicose Veins

A varicose vein is a vein located near the surface of the skin that has become enlarged and twisted. These veins are easily visible, and they may also be painful. As with spider veins, many people seek treatment in order to eliminate embarrassment and discomfort.

Conservative treatments, such as special socks, walking and weight loss, may be effective in the treatment of mild cases of varicose veins. However, this condition often requires more invasive treatments. Options for treating varicose veins include:

  • Ambulatory microphlebectomy
  • Endovenous laser therapy
  • Non-thermal vein ablation

Both ambulatory microphlebectomy are minimally invasive surgical treatment options. Ambulatory microphlebectomy involves the surgical removal of unsightly varicose veins, while endovenous laser therapy involves the use of a laser to reroute blood out of abnormal veins.

For patients that want to treat their varicose veins without surgery, non-thermal vein ablation may be the best choice. During this procedure, the physician uses ultrasound guidance to feed a catheter into problematic veins. He or she then uses the catheter to inject medication into the vein that causes it to collapse.

Choosing the Right Treatment

If you are suffering from spider veins and/or varicose veins, skilled vascular surgeons can help you choose the vein treatment that's best for your situation. For treatment advice, contact the  vein doctors at the Premier Vein Institute today.

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