For most people, spider veins represent a cosmetic issue rather than a source of discomfort. Their red, blue, or purple appearance can sharply contrast with some skin tones. Fortunately, a vein doctor is able to help restore the self-confidence of individuals who suffer from these unwanted blood vessels.
What Exactly Are Spider Veins?
These tiny blood vessels take their name from their weblike appearance. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the vessels are red capillaries that sometimes surround varicose veins. Also known as telangiectasias, they frequently appear on the legs and ankles but also sometimes develop on the face. While some healthcare professionals consider spider veins a type of varicose veins, others point out that they are much smaller and usually closer to the surface of the skin.
Some patients notice these annoying vessels at a young age. UCLA Health indicates that a variety of factors might be responsible for their development:
- Weight changes
- Pregnancy or other shifts in hormones
- Standing or sitting for extended periods
- Injury following trauma such as a sports accident
- Problems in neighboring veins
Vein doctors, also known as vascular surgeons, are able to offer several options at a vein clinic for treating unsightly spider veins.
Which Treatments are Available at a Vein Clinic?
Physicians utilize three types of spider vein treatment:
- Conservative measures: They include lifestyle changes such as losing weight, leaving legs uncrossed, avoiding tight-fitting clothing, and not sitting or standing for prolonged periods. Sometimes physicians recommend wearing compression stockings.
- Sclerotherapy: Using a fine needle, a vascular surgeon injects a special solution into a targeted spider vein. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that this common non-invasive procedure, also used for small varicose veins, irritates the walls of a blood vessel. Eventually, the vein collapses, is resorbed by the body, and fades. Healthy blood vessels nearby take over the workload of veins that have been destroyed. Patients wear compression stockings or bandages for a specified time afterward and are usually able to resume their regular routine, minus any strenuous activities, the same day. The number, size, and location of the unsightly vessels determine how many treatments a patient requires.
- Laser therapy: The physician uses an intense beam of light. The energy emitted works through the skin to destroy the targeted vein. Patients might need more than one treatment session. Sometimes a session combines sclerotherapy with laser therapy.
A visit to a vein clinic is the first step in determining how to get rid of spider veins. After the initial consultation, the physician will determine whether an individual is a candidate for a specific treatment and recommend the best option.
Patients should realize, however, that no treatment will prevent the formation of new vessels. For this reason, some patients return periodically for additional sessions.