“Spider veins” is a term used to describe a medical condition characterized by the presence of dilated veins (visible through the skin) that resemble a spider web. The veins can be either be red or blue in color, which is another key identifying factor. Spider veins can occur on any part of the body. However, they are more likely to be found on the face and the legs.
Quite often, spider veins are confused with varicose veins. However, they are actually smaller. The confusion stems from the fact that spider veins and varicose veins can occur at the same time and in the same location.
Spider veins are most common in people above the age of 50. There are no primary symptoms whatsoever. However, some identifiable signs include restlessness in the legs, throbbing, and swelling. In extreme cases, it is possible for blood clots and skin sores to show up.
However, the most identifiable signs are the spider-web-like appearance and the discoloration, ranging from red to blue to purple. It would be a good idea to visit the doctor if you also experience sores, rashes, pain, ulcers, thickening of the calf, thickening of the skin on the ankle, bleeding, and tenderness etc.
The causes of Spider Veins
It is estimated that more than 80 million people in the US are affected by spider veins. However, the actual cause is still unknown. So far, doctors only know that spider veins result from a high amount of pressure within the veins.
Other than that, it has been observed that the condition is largely hereditary and that the likelihood of developing it increases with age. Other than that, it has been observed that spider veins affect people known to stand for too long. This includes people in professions such as teaching or nursing. Standing for extended hours can cause the pressure in the veins (in the legs) to build, which eventually leads to the development of spider veins.
There are solutions to help people reduce the risk of developing spider veins. These solutions may not have an absolute effect, but, they do reduce the chances of spider vein development.
To begin with, the pressure on the legs must be relieved. This is necessary for people who work jobs that require a lot of standing. This could include nurses, teachers, sales representatives, and those who work in the hospitality industry.
Excessive pressure buildup can be avoided by reducing excess weight on the body and trying to strike a perfect balance between sitting and standing. For instance, experts suggest a 30-minute walk for those who sit for too long and sitting as often as possible for those who stand most of the time. The crossing of the legs must also be avoided.
The idea here is to encourage blood circulation, which can also be done with exercises such as walking or running.
Secondly, it is necessary to use the right support. For people who need to be on their feet all the time, experts advise wearing compression stockings. This can greatly contribute to reducing the possibility of developing spider veins.
Ideally, it is advisable to start with a compression sock that offers a gradient in the 15 to 20 mm of mercury range (mm of mercury refers to the unit used to measure the pressure applied to the veins). Compression socks can be purchased from medical supply stores and most pharmacies.
In fact, it’s even better if you can manage to get in touch with a certified stocking fitter and place an order for stockings that meet your exact specifications. However, using compression stockings doesn’t mean you don’t visit the doctor.
Patients who have spider veins must see their doctor in order to get a clearer picture. Sometimes, swollen veins can be a sign of other more serious underlying issues.
Thirdly, when resting, patients must keep their legs elevated to prevent spider veins. Ideally, the legs must be kept elevated above the heart. By elevating the legs, you are creating an incline that improves blood flow.
Limiting exposure to the sun can also help with the prevention of spider veins. It has been observed that prolonged sun exposure can cause spider veins on a person’s face, especially on the cheeks and the nose.
Finally, seek treatment if you already have varicose veins. Varicose veins are a similar condition to spider veins. It has been found that treating varicose veins reduce the chances of subsequent spider vein development by reducing the pressure in the veins of your legs.
If you are already affected by spider veins, you can seek a few treatment options to deal with the condition. There are generally three treatment options to help with eliminating spider veins. The first option is laser treatment. Laser treatment involves the use of lasers to get rid of the spider veins.
The second treatment option happens to be sclerotherapy, which is also the most popular option out there. The procedure for sclerotherapy simply involves making incisions on the veins that require treatment and then, injecting a solution into those veins.
The injected solution causes the affected vein to collapse, which also cuts the blood flow. As a result, the “dead vein” eventually gets converted into a scar and gets absorbed by the body. Sclerotherapy for spider veins has a very high success rate. Most patients who undergo the procedure indicate an improvement rate of 50 to 90%.
The third treatment option is the VeinGogh treatment. The procedure is most commonly used to treat spider veins in areas such as the ankles, calves, knees, things, cheeks, forehead, chin, and nose. The VeinGogh treatment involves the use of regulated, small, high-frequency current to collapse the walls within the veins.
The current is actually passed into the vein via an extremely thin probe. This current then heats the vein and causes the blood inside to coagulate, which is what causes the walls to collapse. Once that happens, the veins get absorbed by the surrounding tissue.
It’s a simple procedure that doesn’t even require the surgeon to meddle with the skin. Patients who undergo the VeinGogh return to their daily routine almost immediately.
VeinGogh offers a range of other benefits. For starters, as we just mentioned, there is almost no downtime. You can get back to work right away. Due to the precise nature of the treatment, there is no possibility of over-treating, which minimizes the chances of post-procedure trauma. In fact, there is no bruising or scarring whatsoever. Patients might notice some redness, which usually disappears in a few hours.
As for the duration of the procedure, it depends on the size of the area being treated. For example, small areas can be treated in about a minute or so. Larger areas, on the other hand, might take up to 30 minutes.
VeinGogh offers instant results and it only improves as time passes by. In a few weeks, you will be able to clearly make out the improvement in your condition. You only require one VeinGogh session to receive the best results. However, for conditions that are more severe (or extensive), a follow-up session might be needed.
VeinGogh can also be prescribed in conjunction with Sclerotherapy. This is effective in situations where the larger vessels or feeder vessels are the main cause of spider veins. Sclerotherapy and VeinGogh can effectively fix the problem while allowing the surgeon to even consider the aesthetic aspects.
Sclerotherapy can be carried out as an in-office treatment. There is no time required for recovery or downtime. As mentioned earlier, it only involves the injecting of an FDA approved solution that collapses the veins. There is hardly any discomfort experienced with sclerotherapy.
As usual, there are conditions that need to be met for one to qualify for these procedures. First and foremost, there must be a positive diagnosis for spider veins. The diagnosis can be acquired from a doctor, who will provide the necessary diagnosis based on the information obtained from the Ultrasound test results.
Other than that, the ideal candidate must be of good health. He/she mustn’t be obese. People who have issues that are related to their cardiovascular health are not accepted either. Such patients must speak with their respective doctors to determine what their options are.
Even individuals with a history of vein thrombosis, skin infections, and a record of poorly controlled diabetes cannot qualify for the procedure. The same applies to those who are currently taking certain medications.
This is exactly why the consultation phase is very important. Doctors can help clear out any doubts and also narrow down the list of candidates based on their general health.
The procedure doesn’t take very long and patients can leave on the same day.
Once the procedure is done, patients will be advised to wear compression dressing for about 90 days. A follow-up visit may be scheduled in the two weeks that come after the date of the procedure. This follow-up visit is mainly carried out to eliminate any blood clots that might be present in the larger veins.