About Spider Veins
Spider veins are the small, dilated veins found frequently on the thighs, around the knees, on the calves, and around the ankles. Caused by the backup of blood circulation, spider veins are easily visible through the skin of the legs and face because of its close proximity to the skin’s surface, and appear as small, red, purple and blue vessels that resemble jagged tree branches or spider webs.
Dermatology Associates of Atlanta’s Center for Veins has provided Atlanta-area patients with over twenty years of vein treatment and continues to implement some of the newest vein treatment and skin care technologies to remedy spider veins.
Spider Vein Symptoms
- Aches and pains
- Stinging sensations
- Swelling and increased pressure
- Darkening of skin
- Restless leg
Spider Vein Treatment Options
Compression stockings are an over-the-counter solution for mild cases of spider veins. Worn all day, compression stockings decrease swelling by squeezing the legs to allow the veins and muscles to move blood easily and more efficiently to the heart. There are many brands and types of compression stockings that vary in the amount of compression offered.
Sclerotherapy vein removal is the most common treatment to eliminate spider veins. Sclerotherapy is performed using a very fine needle to inject a liquid chemical called a “sclerosing agent” into the vein itself. The vein walls start to deteriorate once the injection is administered, and the residual trapped blood clots, stopping the flow of blood from the vein before eventually turning into scar tissue and gradually fading over the subsequent weeks. Requiring no anesthesia and minimum downtime, patients may require multiple treatments performed every 4-6 weeks for optimal results, allowing less of a chance for the recurrence of spider veins.
Laser vein treatments utilizes strong bursts of light energy to target veins beneath the skin and close them off without the use of incisions or needles. With treatments generally lasting 15 to 20 minutes, laser vein removal treats fine spider veins, causing them to slowly fade and disappear over time. Multiple treatments are recommended for optimal removal of the spider veins and are dependent on the location and size of the veins. Patients are able to return to their normal routines after procedures as it requires no extra downtime. Laser vein removal may not be safe for all skin types and colors, so it is important to discuss treatment plans with your dermatologist.
Veinwave™ Vein Elimination system is the latest FDA approved electrical vein-eliminating treatment technology that is safe for all skin types. The Veinwave™ system uses thermocoagulation, or the use of heat, to safely and effectively treat tiny spider veins anywhere on the body including normally difficult to treat locations such as the face, knees and ankles that are not able to be treated with sclerotherapy. Treatment is administered subepidermally, or on the top layers of skin, using a very fine, insulated needle without piercing the vein itself. Being virtually pain-free and requiring no downtime, the Veinwave™ system offers immediate results that can be seen after one treatment as the veins close and begin to fade.
Spider Vein FAQs
What factors increase the risk of spider veins?
Heredity, aging, obesity, medical history, hormonal changes such as pregnancy, puberty or menopause, sun exposure, skin injuries and occupations play a big part in the development of spider veins. Since spider veins mostly appear in the legs because of pressure applied from a person’s body weight, forces of gravity and the amount of pressure it takes to carry blood from the bottom of the body to the heart, occupations that involve a lot of standing (nurses, hair stylists, teachers or labor workers) have a greater chance of developing spider veins.
Are spider veins dangerous?
Spider veins are not considered dangerous as they seldom pose serious health risks but can cause physical discomfort and emotional distress due to its visible appearance. In certain cases, spider veins may be an indication of the backing up of blood deeper in the body that cannot be seen on the surface of the skin and should be evaluated by your physician.
Can spider veins be prevented?
While spider veins cannot be prevented, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the chance of developing new spider veins:
- Elevate legs when resting
- Don’t sit or stand for extended periods of time
- Wear sunscreen with SPF to reduce the chance of developing spider veins on the face
- Exercise regularly to improve leg circulation and strength
- Control weight to avoid added pressure on the legs
- Wear compression support stockings
- Avoid tight or constricting clothing
Can spider veins reappear after treatment?
Yes. There are high success rates in spider vein treatments available today as compared to traditional surgical treatments, but since there is no known cure for weak vein valves, over time new abnormal veins can appear. By taking necessary preventative measures such as wearing compression garments and maintaining a balanced diet and exercise routing, the re-occurrence of spider veins can be slowed down. In most cases, ongoing treatments like sclerotherapy and laser therapy help keep spider veins under control.