Spider Vein FAQs
Spider Vein FAQs are questions that we frequently hear patients ask. We post these questions and answers to provide greater understanding about the symptoms, identification and treatment procedures for Spider Veins. We hope you will contact us if you have a question that we have not covered in this list. We are always happy to help. Thank you for visiting our website! We hope you are finding it helpful.
Spider veins are small, thin, bluish-purple or red veins on the skin very near the surface of the legs. Compared with other veins in the body, leg veins have the toughest job of carrying blood back to the heart, sometimes resulting in the backup of blood in the leg, called venous reflux. Spider veins appear in the legs due to the pressure of body weight, gravity, and the task of carrying blood from the bottom of the body up to the heart. They can also appear on the foot and the face.
In addition to pain and the impact on quality of life, varicose veins will not get better on their own. In fact, they will get worse over time. If varicose veins are left untreated there is a risk of darkening of the skin, chronic swelling and difficult to treat wounds called venous stasis ulcers. Ignored, it may also lead to a condition called stasis dermatitis that often causes a red rash on the legs and the skin may become shiny, hairless and develop brownish discolored areas. Spider veins are rarely a serious health problem, but they can produce uncomfortable feelings in the legs.
Heredity is the leading cause of varicose veins and this condition will often affect multiple family members. Other factors include certain life events such as pregnancies, trauma to the legs from accidents or surgery, and jobs that require long periods of standing or sitting.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 50 to 55 percent of women and 40 to 45 percent of men in the United States suffer from some type of vein problem. Varicose veins affect half of people 50 years and older.
Sclerotherapy involves using a very small needle to inject a medication called sclerosant directly into the vein. For larger veins that are below the surface of the leg, the physician will use ultrasound to visualize the veins to be treated and guide injections. Smaller veins on the very surface of the leg will be treated by the nurse or physician without the use of ultrasound. The sclerosant causes the lining of the vein to swell until the vessel is sealed shut. These collapsed veins will then be dissolved and reabsorbed by the body.
After sclerotherapy, collapsed veins will then be dissolved and reabsorbed by the body. Patients will usually have some bruising for about a week after treatment and some minor aching in the treated leg for 24-48 hours after treatment. With Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) treatment, there may be some minor discomfort, tightness or pressure in the leg during the procedure which seals veins shut with lasers.
All treatment is done in the office with local anesthetic and produces minimum discomfort for the patient. Because treatments are minimally invasive, patients are able to drive, return to work and resume most of their normal activities the same day as or the day after treatment.