Therapies available for spider/varicose veins that my PA wrote
Did you know that there are reasons, other than cosmetic, to get rid
of the spider veins that have appeared on your legs? These are rather
common. In fact, over half of all people over the age of 50 are affected
by “spider veins”. The spider veins can often times affect you beyond
that of aesthetic irritation. They can become swollen and twisted
causing them to bulge above the surface of the skin. These can be
extremely discomforting and can actually put you at greater risk for
more serious complications such as open sores or blood clots in your
So why do we get these veins in our legs? The veins occur in veins that have been damaged. They are the product of weakened valves in the veins that are typically pumping blood back to the heart (when healthy). When the valves in the weakened veins don’t function properly, the blood flows backward and begins to accumulate in the blood vein. Over time these swell to the surface of the skin and become visible. There are a variety of factors that could cause one to develop these web-like spider veins, such as:
- Hormonal changes.
- Excessive sunlight.
- Sitting/standing for long periods of time most days of the week.
- Can occur because of old age.
- Can occur as a result of pregnancy.
- Result of injury to that area of the leg.
Often times, certain lifestyle changes can help reduce the chance of developing the veins. But in the event that these life style changes do not achieve the results that you are looking for, namely because they will not get rid of the veins that have already appeared, there are more effective methods that we can utilize in the clinic. Compression socks can be used to help reduce the risk of developing blood clots, but again will not diminish the veins that are already present. Instead, some centers offers two effective methods of diminishing spider veins: sclerotherapy and laser treatment.
Sclerotherapy is often considered the treatment of choice with smaller veins. In this procedure, the provider would inject a solution directly into the swollen spider vein. What happens as a result is quite fascinating. The injected solution causes the swollen vein to become scarred which causes the blood to be rerouted through healthier veins! The injected vein then collapses, and surrounding tissue reabsorbs the vein, which causes it to eventually fade. This therapy has been around for quite some time, and over the years dermatologists have improved the procedure so that it is safer and more effective. As a result, Spider veins usually disappear in 3 to 6 weeks. Varicose veins take 3 to 4 months. To achieve the most optimal results, you may need 2 or 3 sclerotherapy treatments.
The second option for treating spider veins is a simple laser treatment. This treatment is used to treat spider veins and tiny varicose veins that are just beneath the surface of the skin. This will typically require multiple procedures. For the larger veins, sclerotherapy still may be the best option, but the smaller ones can be treated with laser therapy.