Spider veins affect more than 50 percent of people in the United States at some point during their lives. Women suffer from the condition more frequently than men, and aging increases the likelihood that you will develop this issue. Spider veins are also known as telangiectasias, and they occur when tiny veins form close to the skin’s surface. The colorful lines resemble a net or a spider’s web.
Many people feel self-conscious when unsightly purple, blue, and red spider veins develop. In some cases, the veins feel itchy, inflamed, or painful. However, despite the discomfort, it is common for those suffering from the condition to delay treatment, believing it is merely a cosmetic concern.
While spider veins may be harmless, it is wise to have them checked by a specialized vein doctor as soon as possible. They can be symptoms of more serious vein disease. Fortunately, treating spider veins does not require complicated surgery. There are a variety of simple, non-invasive procedures available from your vein doctor New York or vein doctor New Jersey, including Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) and Sclerotherapy.
What Are Spider Veins?
Healthy veins have one-way valves that ensure blood flows towards the heart. Once blood passes through the valves, it can’t go back. The valves of diseased veins fail to keep blood moving in the right direction. As blood leaks backwards through the valves, it pools. This causes pressure on the walls of affected veins, which eventually weakens them. Pressure from the pooled blood causes veins to dilate, making them visible through the skin.
This condition is known as Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI). It can impact your overall health, because your veins are struggling to move blood from your limbs to your heart. When you are standing, your veins must fight gravity to move blood from your legs, which is why this area is frequently the first place you see spider veins.
Some people with spider veins do not feel discomfort, so they are primarily concerned with the aesthetics of this condition. However, a percentage of patients report throbbing, itchiness, achiness, or cramping in the affected area. Instead of simply treating the surface issues, it is important to consult with a physician who specializes in vein disease to ensure you are correctly diagnosed.
What Are Risk Factors for Spider Veins?
A variety of factors can increase your risk of developing spider veins. Some are preventable, but others can’t be avoided. Gender plays a significant role in spider veins, and if your parents had spider veins, you are at increased risk. Women who are pregnant and those experiencing menopause frequently develop the condition, and obesity makes spider veins more likely for both men and women. Hormone therapy is a contributing factor, and a history of blood clots may increase your risk. Finally, spending extended periods of time on your feet can cause spider veins to form.
How Can Spider Veins Be Treated?
When the issue is purely one of appearance, many patients opt for cosmetic injections to treat their spider veins. However, cosmetic injections may be an inadequate solution if you have underlying venous insufficiency. Spider vein treatment is best performed by an experienced physician, because these experts differentiate between harmless spider veins and serious vein disease. Some of the options available to you include the following:
Often referred to as RFA, radiofrequency ablation is a popular spider vein treatment. RFA is an important development in CVI treatment, because it has replaced the more complex and invasive “stripping” surgery that was once the standard of care. One of the biggest benefits is that RFA is minimally invasive, and you can resume your normal activities in just a few hours. RFA relies on thermal energy to close diseased veins, which eventually vanish as they are reabsorbed by your body. The blood naturally reroutes through a healthy vein, eliminating the webs under your skin’s surface.
Some physicians recommend Sclerotherapy for treatment of spider veins and the underlying CVI. This method closes diseased veins through a medical injection of Sclerosant. The solution damages the interior of veins undergoing treatment, causing a blood clot to form. The clot prevents blood from flowing through the vein, and it is rerouted to alternative paths. Eventually, the treated veins become scar tissue. As this process occurs, they become more difficult to see under the surface of your skin.
Sclerotherapy can be done in your physician’s office or a clinic setting, so you don’t have to find time for a hospital stay. It usually takes less than 30 minutes to complete, and then you can be on your way. Some patients find Sclerotherapy uncomfortable while the treatment is being performed. They report a burning feeling as the medication is injected. However, the sensation generally passes in a few seconds, and it is unusual to experience continued pain and discomfort in the days following your procedure.
Keep in mind that spider veins and varicose veins often appear together. Your provider can use these same techniques for varicose vein treatment as well. Learn more about diagnosing and treating spider veins at the Vein Treatment Center.