Spider Vеіnѕ

Spider Veins

What Are Spider Veins?

Spider veins are unhealthy veins just underneath the skin, most commonly located on the lower extremities. When they occur in clusters, they may have a spidery appearance, giving them their name. Spider veins are usually blue, red, or purple in color and are often found in clusters that spread outward.  They can appear anywhere on the legs, but tend to show most commonly on the sides and back of the legs. In more advanced cases, dense clusters can form around the ankles (corona phlebectatica). Spider veins can often be the first indication of an underlying condition called chronic venous insufficiency. The medical term for spider veins is telangiectasias.

Spider vеіnѕ often cause few symptoms beyond an undеѕіrаblе cosmetic appearance. Hоwеvеr, ѕоmе individuals may experience ѕеvеrе ѕуmрtоmѕ including; hеаvіnеѕѕ, ѕwеllіng, асhіng, thrоbbіng, restless legs, burning, itching, or сrаmріng оf thе lеgѕ.  Many times, the symptoms are worse with prolonged standing or sitting and can affect daily work activities.

In more advanced cases of vein disease, people may develop skin changes and ulcerations with limited healing despite various measures directed by their primary physicians.

What causes spider veins?
The same mechanisms behind venous insufficiency are also responsible for spider veins.  

If the tiny one way valves in the skin veins stop working properly, then blood backs up in the veins, causing them to expand visibly as spider veins..  This can occur both at the skin level and from feeder veins below the surface of the skin as seen in venous insufficiency.

What treatments are available for spider veins?

  1. Sclerotherapy. Sclerosant medication is injected directly into the vessels, irritating the walls, and leading to the collapse of the targeted veins.  
  2. Laser treatment.  Also commonly used in the treatment of spider veins, laser energy is aimed at the vessels and energy is absorbed causing the veins to collapse.

Do spider veins come back?
Most spider veins will require two or more sessions for complete elimination.  However, over time, new spider veins can develop, even in close proximity to previously treated areas.. Patients may think the same spider veins came back, but they are actually different veins.  Unfortunately, the tendency for spider veins to recur is linked to heredity. Evaluating for underlying venous insufficiency is important especially when there are symptoms or difficult to treat veins.

The take home point is that both treatments are well accepted and have positive outcomes.  Most patients benefit from 2 to 3 sessions for optimal results. However, in the presence of symptoms such as heaviness, leg cramps, swelling, the possibility of venous insufficiency should be explored prior to simply treating the spider veins.  Having continuous pressure built up from underneath due to untreated venous disease can lead to early recurrences.

Who is at Risk for Spider Veins?

Spider Veins and Varicose veins are often the sign of poor circulation within the superficial, and sometimes even the deep veins in the legs.

Treatment Options

What are treatment options for Underlying Venous Insufficiency? 


Sсlеrоthеrару

Sсlеrоthеrару іѕ a mеdісаl рrосеdurе thаt involves thе іnjесtіоn оf a sclerosant іntо a vеіn tо соmрlеtеlу оblіtеrаtе іt. This is the most common technique for spider veins.


RFA

The standard of today’s treatments for venous insufficiency, RF ablation involves a small catheter that delivers heat energy to close down the abnormal vein. The procedure is minimally-invasive and can be done directly in the office.


VenaSeal

VenaSeal™ is a procedure that uses a special glue to close off damaged veins.  The procedure is safe and as effective as RF ablation.


Clarivein

Combines two techniques to treat underlying venous insufficiency.  A small catheter is used to both chemically and mechanically treat the diseased vein.  Select veins are good targets for treatment

 

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Ambulatory Phlebectomy

Phlebectomy is not stripping.  Instead these brief procedures are offered only by skilled clinics and remain one of the best options for bulging varicose veins. Done under local anesthesia in an office setting, the vein is removed in small sections through tiny incisions.

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