As the number of candles on our birthday cakes multiplies, so do little red, purple, and blue squiggly clusters of lines on our calves and ankles. Spider veins. Unlike varicose veins, spider veins usually aren’t painful, but they are a pain to look at when we put on shorts, a skirt, or a bathing suit.
At Premier Heart & Vein Care, Dr. Stevens removes spider veins with sclerotherapy.
What are spider veins?
Unlike varicose veins, which are large enough to push the surface skin upwards, spider veins don’t do that. They are tiny veins but since they are close to the surface skin their dark colors make them easily visible. Rather than a single raised varicose vein, spider veins usually show up in clusters where blood is being dispersed more widely. They aren’t painful, but they won’t go away on their own.
What causes the formation of spider veins?
It’s more common for women to develop spider veins, usually on the calves and ankles, but they can also form on the cheeks.
The reason they form is mainly a combination of gravity and aging. Our veins return deoxygenated blood to the heart. In the legs, this path is all uphill, fighting gravity every inch of the way. When we’re young our muscles and support tissues surrounding our veins help to push the blood upward. But as we age, those tissues begin to slacken somewhat, no longer providing the added support to push the blood through the vein. Also, the vein walls weaken and the one-way valves that prevent backflow can begin to fail or leak. This allows blood to pool, making the vein visible through the surface skin. This is how spider veins and varicose veins form.
Other factors that can increase your risk for developing spider veins are jobs that require prolonged sitting or standing, heredity, weight fluctuations, pregnancy, and hormonal changes.
Believe it or not, the most effective method for removing spider veins was originally developed in the 1930s! In sclerotherapy, Dr. Stevens uses a tiny needle to inject a special saline solution directly into the targeted spider vein. This solution irritates the walls of the vein, causing them to collapse and close off the vein. Once the spider vein is closed off, blood is instantly rerouted to healthier adjacent veins, and the body goes about the business of eventually absorbing and removing the now-unused vein. Sclerotherapy makes many veins instantly disappear completely; other veins initially lessen in appearance and then continue to fade away over the next few weeks.
Dr. Stevens has performed over 700 sclerotherapy treatments at Premier, so you know he can help you get rid of those unwanted purple and blue clusters on your legs. Give us a call at (805) 540-3333 to make an appointment.