Spider Veins … Demystifying the Unwanted
- Present, unsightly, and displeasing, spider veins can become a reality.
- Very common, especially in women (up to 70%) but also troublesome to men (up to 40%).
- Running away from the topic will not change anything. Like any other challenges, spider veins need our attention.
- Help, successful, and safe treatment options are within arm’s reach.
- A vein specialist should evaluate spider veins.
Why do we develop Spider Veins?
Please, do not blame yourself. Most likely, you have done nothing.
Heredity has played a trick on you. A gene translating weak superficial veins’ structure had been incorporated into your DNA generations earlier. Still, carrying the gene does not mean that you will develop spider veins.
Other predisposing factors:
- Occupation (prolonged standing)
- Hormonal influences of pregnancy, menopause
- Birth control pills
What are Spider Veins?
Small, tiny veins that run just underneath the surface of the skin form spider veins. Most often visible on the legs but also on the face.
Spider veins take different forms: branches, clusters, spider webs, and colors: red, purple, blue.
Spider veins can be associated with varicose veins, but they would not cause varicosities in the future.
What are the symptoms?
None, in majority of cases. Except being visually displeasing and an eyesore.
Spider veins have the potential to cause an uncomfortable feeling in the legs, occasional itching, and pain. Spider veins can bleed when associated with varicose veins. They can lead to discoloration with subsequent thickening and ulceration of the skin.
Phlebitis (inflammation of the veins) and thrombosis (small blood clots in the veins) are rare complications of spider veins.
How are Spider Veins diagnosed and treated?
Spider veins are visible on the surface of the skin.
A vein specialist will evaluate their appearance and structure. Some spider veins are a sign of a more serious health problem and a basic ultrasound examination can be done in the office.
The Institute for Vein Health has incorporated a very individualized approach to patients with spider veins. Only a thorough examination will help to determine appropriate treatment plan. Genesis of abnormal veins needs to be established.
There are two commonly used modalities of spider veins’ treatment:
- Sclerotherapy is the most effective for spider veins of the legs and preferred by vein specialists. Approach must be individualized. None of spider veins are the same. Commercialization of sclerotherapy led to multiple failed procedures and undesired side effects.
- Laser is the most effective for facial veins. When used routinely for the legs, laser treatments is associated with more pain and increased incidence of side effects when compared with sclerotherapy.
Subsequent treatments are usually required after 4-5 weeks.
Available treatments are highly effective when done by experienced hands.
However, treatment does not prevent development of any new veins.
Spiders veins are considered a cosmetic problem and insurance companies do not provide financial benefits for them.
A venous diseases specialist must evaluate spider veins to establish a source of the problem as it may warrant medical necessity and guarantee benefits from health insurance providers.