In some women, spider veins – those small clusters of red, blue, or purple veins that appear on the thighs, calves, and ankles – become noticeable at a young age. For others, the veins may not become obvious until much later.
A number of factors may contribute to the development of spider veins in the legs, including:
- Hormonal shifts
- Occupations or activities that require prolonged sitting or standing
- Weight fluctuation
There are effective, safe and relatively painless methods available for reducing spider veins. For more information please call us today at 503-513-5533 or complete this form on our website to schedule an initial consultation.
The common method of treating spider veins in the legs and ankles is called sclerotherapy. During treatment, a sclerosing solution is injected into the affected veins. The injection irritates the inside of the vein, and over time the vein will collapse and fade from view. If you have multiple spider veins, the treatment will require multiple injections to collapse all the veins. Bright light and magnification may be used to ensure maximum precision while injecting the sclerosing solution.
After treatment, the area may be dressed with compressive tape or stockings, or an elastic Ace wrap for a period of time. The veined area often looks a bit bruised initially, and the color slowly fades over the course of a few weeks. Some people can have a bit of brownish discoloration (hyperpigmentation) occur to the area during the healing process. This hyperpigmentation fades as well, but may take months.
Laser treatment option
Spider veins may also be treated with a laser. In this method, an intense beam of light is directed at the spider vein, which obliterates it through the skin. More than one laser session may be needed to obtain the desired results. Sometimes, laser therapy is used in combination with sclerotherapy.
Candidates for spider vein treatment
Spider vein treatment is a good option if you:
- Are bothered by spider veins anywhere on your body
- Are committed to following your plastic surgeon’s prescribed course of treatment
- Have a positive outlook and realistic goals for your spider vein treatment
Spider veins are smaller than varicose veins, and are sometimes referred to as telangiectasias, or sunburst varicosities. Spider veins are tiny veins that lie just below the surface of the skin, and are connected to your larger vein system but aren’t necessary for circulation. Telangiectasia are small, spider-like veins that appear on the face or legs and can be either congenital or appear as part of the aging process. Both Spider veins and Telangiectasia are responsive to Injection Sclerotherapy.
Varicose veins are similar to spider veins, but usually refer to larger veins that bulge and although sometimes responsive to Injection Sclerotherapy, are often better treated by Laser Vein Treatment.
Injection Sclerotherapy has been used by doctors in Europe for over 50 years, but has only become popular in the United States in recent years. Some estimates place half of the adult female population of the US with this unsightly condition. Treatment can significantly diminish the appearance of existing spider veins, however, it cannot prevent new ones from occurring.
What causes spider veins?
Lots of everyday factors contribute to the problem. Some of the common causes are occupational, like standing or sitting for extended periods of time. Other causes can include hormonal imbalance, side effect of medication, rapid weight gain, pregnancy, or simply heredity.
How does sclerotherapy work?
The doctor simply injects sclerosing solution into the vein, causing it to shrink and fade from the surface of the skin. Having this treatment can also reduce the symptoms that are commonly associated with spider veins, including, burning, cramping and swelling. It is predictable, effective, and largely pain free. There are very few risks involved, but certain patients have experienced small blood clots that form in the veins, or allergic reactions to the sclerosing solution. Another complication that may occur is a change in pigmentation that takes some time to fade.
Injection sclerotherapy works by intentionally damaging the lining (endothelium) of small veins. By doing this and then applying pressure the vein walls stick together. The vein can then no longer fill with blood and so it is obliterated. Microinjection sclerotherapy is used for very fine spider veins and uses a very fine needle.
Laser Vein Treatment
A laser is a highly focused beam of light. At VIP MediSpa we can use a laser to treat varicose veins. Laser heat damages a vein, which makes scar tissue form. This scar tissue closes the vein, and this newly closed vein loses its source of blood and dies. After a year or two, the vein often disappears.
Simple Laser Treatment
Until recently, laser vein treatment has been limited to spider veins and tiny varicose veins just under the skin’s surface. Usually, more than one laser session is needed. They are scheduled every 6 to 12 weeks, as prescribed after consultation.