Spider Veins are basically the same disease as varicose veins, only they affect different size vessels. If the vein swelling is in larger "trunk" veins, they become varicose veins. If the veins are smaller and more in the surface of the skin, they become spider veins. Reticular veins are veins which are bluish-green and measure 2-3 mm, while spider veins are red or purple and measure 1mm or less. Some patients get only spider or reticular veins, while others get only varicose veins. Many people develop a combination of both.
Causes and Symptoms of Spider Veins
Spider veins occur the same way varicose veins do—when the one way valves within these veins cease to function which allows blood to pool and makes the vein swell. Common symptoms include stinging or burning sensation as well as itching though some patients may have no physical symptoms from spider veins.
Also like varicose veins, these veins are usually hereditary and are aggravated by estrogen, pregnancy, and occupations that require standing. Leg injury or trauma including sun damage can lead to the development of spider veins.
Spider Vein Treatment Options:
Doing nothing simply allows vein disease to progress. If left untreated, spider veins gradually progress over time as more valves within the veins fail. Wearing compression hose can help reduce symptoms if the veins are painful. It will not, however, prevent the progression of vein disease.
Treatment Options Include:
Cosmetic Sclerotherapy: Traditional sclerotherapy is the "gold standard" in treatment of reticular and spider vein disease, and is the treatment Dr. Douglass uses and recommends. In sclerotherapy, a nontoxic liquid sclerosant (polidocanol or sodium tetradecylsulfate) is injected with very fine needles into diseased veins. The diseased veins close down and are then absorbed by the body. Because the sclerosant acts like a liquid tool reaching the hidden sources of vein disease, it can be effectively used to treat large areas of veins in the least amount of time. There is some mild bruising and swelling immediately after treatment, and wearing compression stockings will be recommended for period of time.
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Laser therapy/VeinWave/VeinGogh: These has proven disappointing in the treatment of reticular and spider veins of the leg, though useful on facial telangiectasia. This is primarily due to the fact that laser therapy and other topical ablative therapies like Vein Wave or Vein Gogh only reach visible spider veins but do not reach hidden sources of the veins feeding into visible veins and so veins fail to clear well or recur quickly (much like using a weedeater to treat dandelions while the roots in the ground remain).
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About East Tennessee Vein Clinic
East Tennessee Vein Clinic was the first dedicated vein clinic in Tennessee and since then our team has helped thousands have healthy legs that look and feel better.