The Best Vein Treatment Options for Spider Veins
Veins are the blood vessels responsible for moving blood from your extremities back to the heart to be replenished with more oxygen. Veins can be large, such as the veins in your legs that push blood from your feet back up to your heart. Other veins are very small and may be less than 1 mm in diameter. When these tiny veins become enlarged, they are known as spider veins.
When You Need Spider Vein Treatment
Spider veins can be distressing in appearance, although they often have no symptoms. However, many people seek spider vein treatment because the colored “starbursts” are so noticeable, especially when they occur on the face. Here's what you need to know about spider veins and their treatment, courtesy of Dr. Ken Stevens and Premier Heart and Vein Care.
Six Benefits of Sclerotherapy as a Spider Vein Treatment
Most patients who experience spider veins do not develop serious medical problems from these tiny red or blue vessels near the surface of the skin. However, for many, they represent a real roadblock to self-confidence. For these patients, sclerotherapy is often the spider vein treatment of choice because of its many benefits.
How a Vein Doctor Uses Sclerotherapy
Spider veins appear most often on the legs, ankles, or feet and occasionally on the face, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. They usually develop closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins do and are typically much smaller.
Vein clinics treat spider veins on an outpatient basis. While conservative measures such as elevating the legs, losing weight, or wearing compression stockings might help prevent new spider veins, they cannot eliminate existing vessels. A vein doctor who specializes in treating vein disease is usually a vascular surgeon. This physician uses sclerotherapy to eliminate targeted spider veins by injecting a substance called a sclerosant into each vessel.
The Office on Women’s Health explains that the sclerosant irritates the vessel’s walls, causing them to stick to each other and eventually close. In time, the body absorbs the treated vein. A vascular surgeon sometimes uses ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy to direct the needle while injecting the sclerosant.
Benefits of Sclerotherapy
Many healthcare providers refer to sclerotherapy as the gold standard of treatment for spider veins. Patients enjoy these six benefits while getting rid of these abnormal veins, according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive treatment. It requires no hospitalization or general anesthesia.
- It is a safe procedure with few risks. Side effects, if any, usually disappear within just a few days or a few weeks. Less-common complications include inflammation, a blood clot, air bubbles, or an allergic reaction to the sclerosant.
- Preparation for the procedure is simple. Patients avoid applying any lotion to or shaving their legs for 24 hours before the appointment. They wear loose clothing such as a pair of shorts to the vein clinic.
- Individuals report little pain or discomfort during the procedure, which usually lasts less than an hour.
- Most patients return to their normal daily routines, absent any strenuous activities, the same day as their sclerotherapy session.
- Sclerotherapy has a success rate as high as 80 percent for getting rid of treated vessels.
A vein doctor might need to schedule more than one treatment session for a patient, depending on the size and the location of the veins to be destroyed. It is important to note that no treatment for spider veins will prevent new vessels from forming due to underlying vein disease. For this reason, patients who have undergone sclerotherapy might expect to see new spider veins occasionally and often opt to return for periodic treatments.
What Are My Spider Vein Treatment Options?
Spider veins affect millions of people across the United States. Nonetheless, many people with this condition are embarrassed by the appearance of their veins. Fortunately, effective spider vein treatment is available from Premier Heart & Vein Care.
What Are Spider Veins?
Spider veins are abnormal veins that may appear anywhere on the body. However, these veins are most common on the legs, hands, feet and chest. Spider veins typically appear as blue, purple or red veins that are easily visible from above the skin's surface. They often develop in web-like formations, and they may get worse over time. Although spider veins may not cause any additional symptoms for some patients, other patients report discomfort associated with spider veins, especially when they develop in the legs.
Spider Vein Treatment Options
Several treatment options are available to patients with spider veins. If a patient's spider veins are not severe, at-home treatment may improve the patient's symptoms. For example, if the spider veins are located in the legs, the patient may be able to improve his or her appearance by elevating the legs as much as possible and/or wearing compression stockings during the day. For some patients, weight loss may also be beneficial.
If at-home conservative treatments do not effectively resolve your spider veins, sclerotherapy may be the best option. This treatment can be performed in the comfort of a vein clinic and requires no general anesthesia. During the procedure, your vein surgeon will use a thin needle to inject a special medication into your spider veins. This medication will irritate the walls of the spider veins, causing them to stick together. Eventually, the body will absorb the veins and they will no longer be visible.
Veins that are effectively treated with sclerotherapy should not reappear. However, new spider veins may develop in the future, so additional treatment sessions may be necessary.
If you are interested in learning more about spider vein treatment, please contact Premier Heart & Vein Care to make an appointment.
5 Things to Know About Spider Vein Removal
Spider veins might make you feel self-conscious or they might cause you physical discomfort. Fortunately, spider vein removal is usually a relatively quick and easy process. That said, if you're looking to get rid of your spider veins, treatment isn't necessarily something you want to rush into. Knowing what to expect and what to do to prepare can help you get the most out of the treatment process.
Spider Vein Removal: Things to Know
What to Do Before Spider Vein Treatment
Before sclerotherapy or another treatment to remove spider veins at a vein clinic, your doctor might ask you to make a few adjustments to your lifestyle or habits to help reduce the risk for complications and to help improve your treatment results. For example, if you smoke, you might be advised to stop smoking for a few weeks before your treatment. Your doctor might also recommend avoiding aspirin and certain other over-the-counter medications or supplements. It's usually a good idea to avoid tanning or extensive sun exposure before treatment as well. You might want to purchase loose-fitting or drapey shorts to wear to the vein clinic and a pair of compression stockings to wear afterwards.
How Long Treatment Takes
How long it takes to remove spider veins depends on the size of the area being treated, but the process is usually fairly quick. For the most part, treatment takes about 30 minutes. It can take up to an hour, or even longer, if you are having a large area treated.
What Type of Results to Expect
You can usually expect spider vein treatment to remove most of the problematic veins. According to Smart Beauty Guide, up to 70 percent of treated veins are removed after sclerotherapy treatment. Some people might have less dramatic results and notice that half of the veins are permanently removed by the treatment.
You May Need Multiple Treatments
Sclerotherapy is often not a one and done treatment. Usually, people need a series of treatments, spaced a few weeks to a few months apart, before they see the full results they are after. While the treatment does permanently remove the effected veins, it is possible for new spider veins to develop over time. Even if you enjoy a successful treatment initially, you might need a repeat procedure after a few years.
Complications Are Possible
One last thing to know about sclerotherapy and spider vein treatment options: complications after treatment are possible, although they usually are rare. You may have some swelling and bruising right after treatment, for example. Some people develop persistent pain in the treated area. There's also a small risk for infection.
Choosing an experienced vein doctor and receiving treatment at a vein clinic will help lower your risk for complications considerably. To learn more about your spider vein removal options, contact Premier Heart & Vein Care today.
Pros and Cons of Spider Vein Removal
If you have spider veins, you're not alone. Millions of people in the US have some sort of vein problem, including spider veins. In 2015, 314,629 women and 7,541 men had spider vein treatment in the US, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Spider vein removal at a vein clinic has many benefits, among them getting rid of those unwanted veins. Another benefit is a boost in your confidence. But before you rush out to schedule your treatment, it helps to look at the procedures available from all angles and to really understand the positives and negatives involved.
Spider Vein Removal: The Good and the Bad
Pro: Say Good-Bye to Unsightly Veins
One of the main reasons to consider spider vein treatment is that the procedures, such as sclerotherapy, usually work very well and effectively eliminate the unwanted veins. In the case of sclerotherapy, the vein doctor injects the veins with a special chemical solution. The solution destroys the veins, so that they collapse and disappear from view.
Con: You Might Need Multiple Treatments
A drawback of sclerotherapy and other spider vein removal treatments is that occasionally, you need more than one treatment to get the results you want. Often, the treatments are spaced a few weeks to a month apart.
Pro: There's No Downtime
Although you might need multiple spider vein treatments to get the full results, you won't have to really disrupt your life between or after treatments. Usually, no recovery or downtime is needed after treatment. You'll be able to get back to work or your regular activities immediately afterwards. You might have to wait a week or so before you start working out again, though.
Additionally, preparation before the treatment is minimal and the process is usually very quick, so its overall impact on your schedule should be minimal.
Con: Hello, Compression Stockings
While you don't have to set aside time off from work following a spider vein treatment, your doctor will most likely advise you to wear compression stockings for a few days or weeks afterwards. Wearing the stockings helps improve your results. They put pressure on the treated area, so that the veins fade away and collapse more easily. The downside is that compression stockings can seriously cramp your style. It's best to think of them as a temporary setback on the road to looking better and feeling more confident. You can always cover them up with a pair of pants or a long skirt.
For many patients, the pros of spider vein removal far outweigh the cons. If you have more questions about your treatment options or would like to learn more about sclerotherapy, talk to Dr. Ken Stevens at Premier Heart and Vein Care today. Call 1-805-979-4777 to schedule an appointment.
Who is a Good Candidate for Sclerotherapy?
Fortunately, spider veins are seldom serious medical problems. However, for some individuals, they steal self-confidence. The so-called gold standard of spider vein treatment is sclerotherapy. Learning about these vessels and this procedure helps patients understand whether they are good candidates for this treatment.
Overview of Spider Veins
These abnormal blood vessels get their name from their appearance, which resembles a spider’s web. They develop when a small group of veins near the skin’s surface enlarge. The University of Chicago Medicine says they are typically red or purple and most frequently develop on a patient’s legs or face, more frequently in females than in males.
While these spidery veins are similar to varicose veins, they usually form closer to the surface of the skin. They also tend to be much smaller than varicose vessels.
How Sclerotherapy Works
The use of this outpatient procedure in the United States dates to the 1930s, according to the Cleveland Clinic. In one session, a vascular specialist is usually able to get rid of between 50 and 80 percent of unwanted vessels.
More than 90 percent of sclerotherapy patients respond to the treatment. However, since no procedure to eliminate a spider vein problem prevents new vessels from forming, some individuals return from time to time for additional sessions.
Sclerotherapy utilizes injections into targeted veins. It is sometimes also useful for small varicose veins. Many physicians combine ultrasound with sclerotherapy for the most precise results.
The physician inserts a very fine needle into each targeted vein to inject a special substance called a sclerosant. The sclerosant irritates the vein, causing it to collapse and eventually disappear. Normal veins nearby pick up its circulatory duties.
While MedicineNet reports that some sclerosants are more painful than others, most patients report very little discomfort beyond a mild burning sensation. Sessions usually last an hour or less.
Who is a Good Candidate for Sclerotherapy?
The path to eliminating a spider vein problem begins at a consultation with a physician who specializes in vascular issues. After taking a medical history and conducting a physical exam, the doctor will determine whether a patient is a likely candidate for the procedure.
Acceptable candidates usually have these attributes:
- They have realistic expectations of the treatment and results.
- They are not pregnant or breastfeeding and have not been pregnant for a minimum of three months.
- They are between 30 and 60 years old.
- They are able to follow the detailed instructions issued before and after sclerotherapy.
- They acknowledge that the treatment will not stop the formation of future veins.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, these criteria preclude becoming a candidate:
- Desired vessels could be used for a future bypass
- Individual has a history of clots or has clotting issues requiring individual analysis
- Patient is bedridden.
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
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.
What to Expect from Sclerotherapy as a Spider Vein Treatment
For most patients, spider veins are a cosmetic issue. These small red, blue, or purple vessels are annoying and can steal an individual’s self-confidence. In recent years, sclerotherapy ranks as the foremost spider vein treatment, particularly when treating blood vessels in the leg.
Issues With Spider Veins
These flat vessels are abnormal but typically cause no serious health problems. They most often appear on a patient’s legs or face. They are significantly smaller than varicose veins, which have a raised, ropelike appearance and can cause medical complications.
Some doctors believe that a spider vein is a type of varicose vein. Other physicians consider them a separate condition. The UCLA School of Medicine indicates that the official name for these vessels, which resemble a spider’s web, is telangiectasias. They also tend to appear closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins do.
Common causes include:
- A family history
- Gaining weight
- Medication that result in shifts in hormones
- Standing or sitting for long periods
Doctors treat spider veins on an outpatient basis.
How Physicians Use Sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy is a process of injecting a spider vein or a small varicose vein with a special solution or foam called a sclerosing agent or sclerosant. It is a non-invasive procedure with few complications. A physician injects the agent into each targeted vessel using a very fine needle, the University of Michigan Vein Centers reports. In recent years, use of ultrasound to guide a physician during the procedure has become common.
Once the sclerosant reaches the vein, it irritates the walls, causing the vessel to seal shut and eventually resorb. Healthier veins nearby resume the work of the destroyed vessel. The treated vein disappears over time.
What to Expect
The path to eliminating a spider vein problem begins with a consultation with a specialist. At the initial appointment, the physician determines whether a patient is an acceptable sclerotherapy candidate and provides detailed instructions to those who qualify.
Most patients report only cramping or minor stinging during the procedure, according to the Mayo Clinic. The number of sessions required depends on how many veins need treatment and where they are located.
After a sclerotherapy procedure, patients remain on their backs while resting. Discharge orders specify how long they are required to wear compression stockings.
Although it is necessary for another adult to drive the patient home, most individuals get back to their normal routines the same day as the procedure, absent any strenuous activity. Physicians encourage walking because it helps prevent the formation of blood clots. Sun exposure to treated areas can result in the formation of dark spots on the skin.
No treatment can prevent the development of new veins. For this reason, some individuals come back from time to time for additional sclerotherapy sessions.
Best Foods to Help Make your Spider Vein Treatment More Effective
Research shows that somewhere around a third of the adult population in the United States has a condition that would benefit from spider vein or varicose vein treatment. Spider veins, are a common problem, especially in women. The Society for Vascular Surgery estimates that in the U.S., as much as 35 percent of adults are affected by the condition. The higher risk categories include women, people who are obese, and women who have had several children.
Good nutrition can help both your condition and speed healing from spider vein treatment. The human body is an intricate machine that responds very well when it is supplied with the proper nutrition. As you recover from your vein treatment, incorporate some of these foods into your diet – and eliminate the ones that could cause you problems.
Eat More Fiber
Most people do not get enough fiber in their diet and that isn’t good. Fiber makes the body function much better by moving waste through the digestive tract. It also helps you feel fuller longer which can help reduce your waistline. More to the point of varicose veins, though. Straining while having a bowel movement puts a long of pressure on the veins that are in the lower portion of the rectum, causing hemorrhoids and varicose veins.
Do your body a favor and make healthy, high fiber choices including;
- Brown and wild rice
- Whole wheat pasta
- Whole wheat bread
- Whole wheat flour
Drink Plenty of Water
Water is very beneficial to keeping your body functioning at an optimal level. It keeps your skin soft and supple, helps flush out toxins, and hydrates your organs and body. When adding fiber to your diet, make sure you drink lots of water to keep things moving freely.
Select Foods Containing Rutin
Rutin is a flavonoid and is very beneficial for spider veins. While it offers multiple, whole body benefits, one of the most notable is its ability to minimize the permeability and fragility of capillaries. This means that it can actually help to decrease your risk of developing spider veins, really boosting the impact of your vein treatment. Foods rich in Rutin include:
- Apple (especially the skin)
Foods to Avoid
As you make healthy food choices, you will have to get rid of some foods that aren’t so healthy. Eliminate these foods from your diet for healthier veins and overall wellbeing;
- White rice
- White flour
- Alcohol (no more than 1 glass a day)
The doctor who does your vein treatment can help you target specific foods that would best benefit your body, but you can start eating healthy today. It doesn’t have to be a singular big change, rather a series of baby steps leading you to a more nutritious, healthier lifestyle.