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.
About Spider Veins
Spider veins – the medical name is telangiectasis – are a type of small varicose vein. They are most likely to occur on the legs but may also occur in other areas of the body, like the face. They develop because small flaps of tissue in the veins, called valves, become weak and allow blood to flow backward to pool in the vein. Many people have no symptoms with spider veins. Others may complain of itching, pain or burning in the area of the spider vein. It is common for patients to have both varicose and spider veins.
Are Spider Veins a Problem?
In most cases, spider veins are primarily a cosmetic issue. If symptoms do occur, they are usually minimal. They can be easily hidden with long pants or skirts or with makeup. Those strategies are uncomfortable on hot days, however. Spider veins do tend to coexist with varicose veins – they are actually just a small varicose vein – and many patients choose to treat both.
Who Can Provide Vein Treatment?
A vein doctor or vascular surgeon usually offers vein treatment services. The term “vein doctor” doesn’t describe a medical specialty, and a vein doctor might be a general practitioner, radiologist, internist, cardiologist or vascular surgeon. The services these doctors typically offer include what are known as minimally invasive procedures like laser treatments, sclerotherapy and ambulatory phlebectomy. Only a vascular surgeon, however, can actually perform surgery such as a vein stripping.
Treating Spider Veins
As vein disease goes, spider veins are a relatively minor problem. Luckily, there are different treatments for spider veins that can be performed in your doctor’s office and require no or only local anesthesia. You can usually resume your normal activities within a day or so, except for strenuous exercise. Spider vein treatment includes:
Sclerotherapy – considered the gold standard of spider vein treatment, sclerotherapy scars the veins closed. The doctor injects a solution into the vein with a tiny needle. This solution is very irritating, and makes the vein swell, then collapse. Pressure dressings or compression stockings applied over the area keep the vein closed while the vein walls scar and fuse together. The veins gradually fade and are absorbed in to the surrounding tissue, although they don’t become completely invisible.
Laser Treatment – this treatment does not require a needle or incision. The laser is passed along the skin over the vein, sending strong bursts of high-energy light into the vein. As with sclerotherapy, the treated veins collapse and scar closed.
If you have spider veins, Premier Heart and Vein Care can help. Please contact us to schedule an appointment or for any questions or concerns.