What to Know About Spider Veins
Spider veins are the thread-like, colored veins that are small and most often seen on the surface of your skin. Also known as telangiectasias, spider veins are found most commonly on the thighs or lower legs of women and men and appear in clusters. However, spider veins are also seen in the face, around the nose, and on the cheeks, sometimes within the eyes. These tiny veins are one to three millimeters in size, can be hereditary, and are notably in varying shades of blue, red and purple. At Carolina Vein Associates, we treat symptoms of spider veins and reduce their appearance nonsurgically, so you don’t have to cover your legs, apply makeup, or spend days in recovery.
What are the symptoms and what causes spider veins?
It is estimated that one-third of the adult female population deals with this common vein problem. Our patients seek treatment for spider veins because of the cosmetic concerns associated. Spider veins are not considered a dangerous medical condition, but an assessment via a vein ultrasound exam is essential to be sure. While they are not serious, it is common for spider veins to cause symptoms, such as periodic aching, heaviness in the legs, itching and night cramps. Should these symptoms continue, you should see your doctor immediately as deep vein conditions are a possibility. The signs of venous insufficiency are not always clear based on the surface appearance, which venous ultrasound will confirm. Every patient at Carolina Veins will have this diagnostic exam before opting for nonsurgical treatment.
Specific factors can contribute to the emergence of these spider veins, including:
- Hormonal factors
- Weight gain (fluctuations)
- Trauma to the area
- Sun exposure
- Alcohol use
- Certain medications
- Activities that require prolonged sitting or standing
Based on the area where these spider veins occur, the most common reasons they develop are aging of the tissue and sun exposure. With intense heat, small veins at the surface of the skin can burst and create a web of feeder veins. Over time, the length of spider veins grows as more feeder veins become a part of the branched, stressed vein of origin. Most patients find the color or location of spider veins unpleasant but normally do not feel pain associated with their presence as is common with varicose veins. Spider veins can be removed by a few specialized vein treatments that cause the veins to collapse and naturally absorb into the body without invasive surgery.
Our spider vein treatments include:
Surface laser treatments are done using a diode laser called the Dornier Medilas D Flexipulse. These surface laser treatments are fast acting and easy on the skin as a 940 nm wavelength specifically targets the problem blood vessels and shields the skin. The laser works by coagulating blood within the vein that induces vein collapse. One session is standard, but if veins reappear after a two to three week period, then additional spider vein treatments are recommended with the laser.
Liquid sclerotherapy has the same effect on spider veins as the laser treatment, but laser works on the smallest spider veins. Injection of liquid medications into the vein treats slightly larger spider veins and does so without laser heat energy. A chemical solution created for this purpose, usually as a salt solution, causes an irritation so that the vein collapses as a defense against the chemical. The damaged vein absorbs equally into your skin.
After a comprehensive ultrasound vein exam, your doctor will present you with both options and let you know which spider vein treatment is best for you. You may not be a candidate for both treatments, and your doctor will explain why that is the case, but your spider veins will find a treatment here. To reduce spider veins in the future, we recommend sun protection and increased mobility each day. If necessary, you may be prescribed compression garments to redirect blood flow from surface veins to the deep veins. Compression garments should only be used after assessment and they are not a permanent solution for most patients.
Carolina Vein Associates in North Carolina is the premier, spider vein treatment center helping patients from around Mooresville, Lake Norman, and Charlotte. Call our office today to set up your vein evaluation and consultation at (704) 684-4511.