What are spider veins?
Spider veins are so named for the spider web appearance that they often have just beneath skin. Over 50% of women and 45% of men in the United States have problems with their veins. Spider veins typically develop when a larger vein collapses and smaller veins must take over transport of the blood. Essentially, spider veins result when the larger veins are overly stressed in a particular area of the body. The unsightly spider veins are noticeable because they are close to the surface of the skin and take on a dark red or blue color. Though spider veins can appear anywhere on the body, they are most often found on the legs and face.
How are spider veins treated?
There are a variety of treatment modalities that have been used to get rid of spider veins. Most of the spider vein treatments available do not involve surgery, but surgery can be used as a treatment option for spider veins in certain situations.
Sclerotherapy is the use of injection treatments to cause spider veins to "close off". The goal of sclerotherapy is to get spider veins to shut down blood supply and die. Once the spider veins die, they slowly become no longer visible.
Injections for sclerotherapy treatment contain specialized chemicals or salts that cause the vein to swell and become closed to blood circulation. Some patients require multiple injections to experience results from this type of treatment, but the injections themselves take only about ten minutes to complete in one area of the body. The treatment is minimally invasive and relatively painless.
Endovenous Laser Treatment
About 30% of patients seek out endovenous laser treatment due to pain associated with spider veins. The remaining 70% seek out treatment for cosmetic reasons. Endovenous laser treatment utilizes ultrasound-guided technology for treating spider veins. In this procedure, a special optical fiber is slowly guided through larger veins in the body into the region where the smaller veins are located. The optical fiber is then directed and inserted into the spider veins and lasers are then directed into the lumen to cause the vein to close. The optical fiber is then withdrawn from the vein. The treatment takes between one and two hours and though recovery from the procedure is relatively straightforward, patients often must wear a bandage on the treated area for up to 3 weeks.
Radiofrequency occlusion also uses ultrasound-guided technology to thread a catheter into the veins that will be treated. Local anesthetic is used to make the patient more comfortable during the procedure. After the catheter is in place, sound waves are used to heat the vein, causing it to collapse. After the vein has collapse and the blood supply has been shut off, the vein dies and leaves only a thin scar that eventually disintegrates and disappears.
Lasers and Intense Pulsed Light
Laser treatments should generally be limited to small spider veins. The treatment works by heating the veins and thus causing blood to coagulate, shutting off the blood supply. The vein then dies and disappears over time from view. Treatment with lasers is usually only mildly uncomfortable and fast, taking only about 20 minutes to perform. Often, patients will have to return for two to three laser treatments to see results.
Spider Vein Surgery
There are different surgical treatments available to treat spider veins. During surgical ligation and stripping, problematic veins are tied off and then removed from the body through tiny incisions. The procedure requires general anesthesia and up to 1 to 4 weeks of recovery.
Who is a good candidate for spider vein treatment?
The best candidate for spider vein treatment is someone who either is motivated to have the procedure for aesthetic reasons or because the spider veins are causing them pain. It is important that the patient be in reasonably good health such that they will be able to exercise after the procedure. Exercise is an important component of spider vein treatment because exercise that utilizes the legs such as walking or jogging helps decrease the burden on veins of circulating blood back to the heart.
What you'll find at SpiderveinGuide.com
At SpiderVeinGuide.com you'll find everything you need to know about spider vein treatments that are available today. If you're considering spider vein treatment, SpiderVeinGuide.com can provide you with information about each procedure, the removal techniques used to get the best results and the cost of the treatment. SpiderVeinGuide.com also provides recovery tips for patients undergoing spider vein removal to hasten recovery and improve the chances of having a successful procedure. After you've studied the information at SpiderVeinGuide.com, take some time to look through the before and after images to see how spider vein treatments have helped others. When you're ready, use the Surgeon Locator to find a qualified physician and set up an initial consultation to find out how spider vein treatment can work for you.