For many patients, spider vein clusters are annoying and sometimes rob self-confidence. When small blood vessels near the surface of the skin fail to function properly, the result can include leg vein disease and incompetent vessels with malfunctioning valves. Upon first noticing the appearance of spider veins, individuals might wonder whether these vessels will go away naturally.
Why a Spider Vein Forms
The medical name for these tiny red or blue vessels is telangiectasias. While they share many similarities with varicose veins, they are normally much smaller and form closer to the surface of the skin, particularly on the legs and the face. Varicose veins typically have a bulging or ropelike appearance, are usually more painful, and often appear dark blue. According to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, a spider vein sometimes looks purple. Clusters might appear as streaks, treelike patterns, or starbursts.
While pregnancy or the use of birth control pills can play a role in vein health and the development of these abnormal vessels, the most common cause is standing or sitting for extended periods. The role of valves in veins is preventing blood traveling from the extremities to the heart from falling backward due to gravity. When a valve becomes incompetent, blood leaks backward into the vein, causing it to dilate. The result is often a spider or a varicose vein.
The Bump reports that a spider vein problem could go away after pregnancy. However, cases in which these vessels disappear without even conservative treatment such as daily exercise or wearing special hose are not the norm.
Vein Treatment Options
Spider vein treatment involves either trying to minimize the effects of these veins while avoiding the development of new ones, or making them go away. The Office on Women’s Health notes that conservative treatment to manage leg vein disease and maximize vein health includes lifestyle changes such as adding physical activity, shedding excess pounds, and wearing compression stockings. However, the only way to eliminate abnormal vessels is to destroy them.
The so-called gold standard of spider vein treatment is sclerotherapy, which physicians sometimes also use to treat small varicose veins. This non-surgical vein therapy involves injecting targeted vessels with a special solution known as a sclerosant. It irritates the vein’s walls, causing them to scar and the vein to eventually close off and disappear. Healthier veins pick up the circulatory duties of the one destroyed. Vein specialists often combine sclerotherapy with endovenous laser therapy or radiofrequency ablation.
A second therapy effective for spider vein destruction is the VeinGogh procedure. It utilizes a very small needle to deposit a tiny burst of energy into each selected leg or facial vein. Heat from the energy burst collapses the vessel, which ultimately disappears. Each session typically lasts less than half an hour.