Spider veins seldom cause significant medical issues. However, they can seriously erode self-confidence. Thanks to the convenient options vein specialists offer to treat leg vein disease, these troublesome blood vessels don’t have to be a permanent problem.
Why Spider Veins Develop
A spider vein is a small red or blue blood vessel visible on the skin. The medical term for these vessels is telangiectasias. They often appear in clusters resembling a spider’s web. Wake Forest® Baptist Health notes that their cause is small abnormalities under the skin that affect vein health.
These vessels in many ways resemble varicose veins. Both are abnormal vessels that form due to leg vein disease. However, a spider vein is typically much smaller and closer to the surface of the skin than a varicose vessel is. Although a spider vein is primarily a cosmetic concern, a large cluster sometimes causes itching, stinging, and/or pain.
Leg veins contain valves through which blood travels from the extremities to the heart. When a valve malfunctions, blood falls backward into the vein and pools. Pooled blood increases pressure in the vein, stretching its walls and eventually causing a spider or a varicose vein.
Spider Vein Treatment Options
Recent advances in outpatient vein treatment have made it increasingly convenient to treat leg vein disease.
The primary procedure for treating a spider vein problem is sclerotherapy. Vein specialists also use this non-surgical therapy to eliminate some small varicose veins.
Sclerotherapy dates from the 1930s, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Most patients find the procedure painless and experience at most a slight stinging or burning sensation.
Using a fine needle, the physician injects a solution known as a sclerosant into each targeted vein. The sclerosant irritates vein walls, causing them to stick to each other and eventually seal shut. Healthier vessels nearby assume the circulation workload of the treated vein.
The number of veins treated in a session depends on their location and size. A physician is typically able to eliminate between 50 and 80 percent of injected vessels during one appointment. Most treated veins disappear within a few weeks after treatment.
Patients wear compression stockings for a specified period after the procedure to help boost circulation and reduce the risk of clots. They are usually able to return to their normal routines, minus any strenuous activity, the same day.
A second treatment option is the VeinGogh Ohmic Thermolysis process. According to the supplier, AP Medesthetics, Inc., patients see results immediately and need no compression stockings. This procedure eliminates leg and facial veins.
Using an extremely fine needle that is insulated, the physician directs a small burst of energy to each spider vein. The heat generated collapses the vessel, which then disappears. Patients experience minimal discomfort during a session, which typically lasts less than half an hour.