Spider veins result from small veins that gather under the skin surface leading to a blue, red or purple discoloration. The name” spider veins” is derived from the appearance of the veins. They have widened blood vessels similar to varicose veins, but smaller and closer to the skin surface.
These veins can be quite small, and they may be unnoticeable. Development of these veins on any part of your body should not cause any alarm. They are harmless. Treatments given to eradicate the veins are mainly for cosmetic purposes.
Spider veins mainly appear on the ankles, thighs, and calves though you can also find them in any part of the body. They are more prevalent in women than men. The real cause of development of these veins remains unknown though genetics, obesity, pregnancy, and use of birth controls have been associated with the emergence of the veins.
Signs and symptoms of spider veins
The most common sign of spider veins is the web-like shape of the veins under the skin in blue, red or purple complexion. Other symptoms that are correlated with spider veins include;
• Restless legs
• Cramping, throbbing and aching
• Skin ulcers
• Heaviness in the legs
Who is likely to develop spider veins?
Though doctors don’t have a clear explanation, why people develop these veins, they link the development of this condition to genetics among other factors. The development of spider veins is also linked to age. As you get older; there is a higher risk of developing the condition. Individuals in professions that demand to stand for long hours are at a higher risk of developing spider veins. This is due to increased pressure on the legs.
Though you cannot completely hinder the emergence of spider veins, you can lower the risk by;
Regular exercise assists to ease the pressure on the legs as well as increasing blood circulation and strengthening the leg muscles. After standing in one spot for a while running or walk around to stimulate blood circulation in the legs.
• Treat varicose veins
Treating varicose veins can help to reduce pressure in the legs thus inhibiting the development of spider veins. If you have varicose veins, seek help from your doctor in time to avoid complications leading to other vascular health problems.
If your work involves standing for long hours, wear comfortable shoes. Wearing lightweight compress also helps to ease pressure in the legs. You can easily access lightweight compression stocking from your local pharmacy or medical store. When seated, avoid crossing your legs, this affects blood circulation besides increasing pressure in the legs.
• Wear sunscreen
Expose to sun rays can result in spider veins. If you have a light complexion, consider wearing sunscreen to prevent the development of these veins in your nose or cheeks.
• Elevate your legs
Elevating your legs can assist in treating and preventing spider veins. If you are standing or seated for long hours body fluids start accumulation in the legs, this leads to varicose and spider veins. Elevating your legs helps to drain these body fluids.
• Avoid tight clothes and high heel shoes
Tight clothes and high heel shoes contribute to increased pressure on the legs. Avoid skin-tight jeans and a tight waistline. Any clothes that are too small for your body should be done away with. Always make sure that your clothes are comfortable to wear.
• Lose weight
Excess body weight puts a strain on the legs by increasing the pressure. If you are obese, try losing weight gradually besides embarking on a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet. Regular body exercise is critical to a healthy body.
• See your doctor
Regular health check-ups are crucial for a healthy body. If you develop a routine of visiting your doctor, they can note any changes in your health that need to be countered.
Different ways of treating Spider veins
The primary goals of spider vein removal and treatment are to minimize the symptoms and avoid any complications, since spider veins may not pose any threat to your health, therapy will assist to improve the appearance of the affected region. Treatment options for spider veins include;
1. Lifestyle change and compression therapy
Compression therapy involves the use of compression stocking to treat spider veins. These stockings are available from your local medical store or pharmacy. The stockings are available in different styles, and your doctor is in a better position to advise the best for your case. The compressions also vary from 10-50mmHg. Compression stockings are one of the traditional methods of treating varicose and spider veins. Other conventional methods of treating spider veins are;
• Weight loss
• Avoiding standing or sitting for long
• Skin hygiene
• Regular exercise
• Elevating legs
You should first try these conventional methods of treating spider veins before embarking on more complex procedures. If symptoms persist, then you can seek the help of your doctor for an appropriate way of addressing the spider veins.
This procedure involves injecting a solution into the spider veins to collapse and eliminate the veins. To completely eliminate the spider veins, you might require several sclerotherapy treatments.
A variation of sclerotherapy known as foam sclerotherapy involves the use of a foaming agent in combination with the sclerotherapy solution. The foaming agents help to clear blood from the vein to allow the sclerotherapy solution to have better contact with the spider vein wall.
Sclerotherapy is widely used as a cosmetic procedure. It is a simple procedure that doesn’t need admission; it can be done in the doctor’s office or outpatient clinic.
2. Laser and light therapy
Pulse-light and laser therapy use heat to shrink the veins. Laser therapy is the ideal treatment for small veins like the spider veins. It can also be used in combination with other procedures such as sclerotherapy, surgery and endovenous procedures. To effectively treat the vein, one is required to attend several laser treatment sessions for about six weeks.
3. High-intensity pulsed light
This procedure is also referred to as photoderm. It differs from laser and pulse- light therapy due to the spectrum of light used in the treatment of the veins. It doesn’t use a single wavelength as in laser and pulse-light therapy.
High-intensity pulsed light therapy is ideal for shrinking the spider veins, vascular birthmarks, and small varicose veins. The procedure is suitable for patients who dislike needles and where laser therapy and sclerotherapy haven’t been effective in treating the spider veins.
4. Procedures that involve minimal invasion
These procedures include;
• Micro-incision, Micropuncture or stab phlebotomy. This procedure is done in the doctor’s office. It involves removal of the problematic vein by making a tiny incision then hooking the vein through the incision to extract small pieces of the vein.
• Transilluminated power phlebotomy. This is a superior form of stab phlebotomy that reduced pain and bleeding and the number of incisions associated with stab phlebotomy. A fiber option light is inserted below the skin as the doctor injects local anesthesia and saline. This guides the doctor on how to use the powered tissue resector (an instrument that cuts the spider veins into small pieces before sucking them).
• Endovenous thermal ablation therapy. This procedure utilizes high-frequency radio waves or laser to generate powerful localized heat on the vein. The doctor will make a small incision on the skin before inserting a catheter into the vein. Another device is attached to the catheter to heat and collapse the vein.
This method doesn’t involve the removal of the vein; thus result in minimized bruising and bleeding. The doctor will first numb the area to avoid pain and discomfort during the procedure. The method results in less pain and the patient can resume regular duties faster compared to the other approaches of spider vein treatment.
Ligation involves the surgical removal of the problematic vein. The doctor typically cuts and ties the spider vein. Recovery after this operation is fast and the individuals can go ahead with their routine work in a few days.
This procedure is ideal for varicose veins though it can still be used for the treatment of spider veins. It involves the surgical removal of spider veins. Before the process, the doctor will apply local anesthesia to the affected area. You may experience pain and discomfort as the surgery heals.
How to prepare for spider vein removal
Once you have agreed on the best way to treat spider veins, your doctor will prepare you for the procedure. At this point, The doctor will answer any concerns or questions you may have about the procedure. The doctor will offer instructions and guidelines which will include;
• A request to stop smoking before and after the procedure to enhance faster healing.
• Keeping drugs and herbal medicines that may hinder blood clotting.
• Taking enough water to keep hydrated among others.
Spider vein removal is a simple procedure that usually takes place in the doctor office. After the procedure, you may not drive back home, therefore, seek the help of a family member or friend to drive you home.
What to expect during spider vein removal
As earlier highlighted, spider vein removal is a simple procedure that is done in the outpatient clinic. Typically most of these procedures will take between 30 minutes to one hour per session, but some may take longer. On your first appointment with your doctor, ask how long the specific procedure will take.
Before the procedure, you can expect to take medication. The doctor may also administer local anesthesia in the affected area, but the doctor will follow the plan you had agreed upon before the procedure.
If you have to undergo sclerotherapy, your doctor will advise you to use compression stockings to increase the probability of treatment success.
After the procedure, the doctor will monitor your progress for a few hours before allowing you to go home.
Post spider vein removal experience
After spider vein removal, most patients can resume their normal activities immediately. The doctor will issue instructions on what to do to heal faster. They will offer guidelines on;
• Possible adverse effects
• How to care for your skin
• Normal symptoms to experience
• How to determine signs of complications
What to expect immediately after treatment
After the procedure, you will recognize that the spider veins are fewer. If you underwent sclerotherapy, over 50% of the veins would have been completely eliminated. Laser ablation may need several sessions to eradicate all the spider veins. No matter the procedure used in spider vein removal, several sessions are required to eliminate the veins completely.
Spider vein removal procedures are simple and only result in minimal discomfort. After the process, you can experience skin reddening, discoloration or bruising, but these side effects should disappear in a few days to weeks. If you note any questionable side effect, contact your doctor to know if it is normal.
The expected recovery period after spider vein removal
Most spider vein procedures require little or no time for recovery. For most of these procedures, one can resume regular tasks after the treatment. After the procedure, avoid direct sunlight in the first few days.
For faster healing and to avoid complications, you must stick to the instructions issued by the doctor. Avoid activities as advised by your doctor. Compression stockings and dressings may be useful to avoid bruising and enhance faster healing.
If you have decided to go for a spider vein removal procedure, you must ensure that you have selected the right doctor to handle your condition. Confirm that the doctor is trained and experienced in the specific procedure. Besides, they must also be registered with the relevant professional bodies and licensed to operate. Under a qualified medical professional, chances of complications are minimized. You will also be assured of excellent results after the procedure.
Are you in search of spider vein removal services? For the best advice and results in spider vein removal, Dr. Zadeh is the best. He has been in the profession for many years besides offering affordable services. Contact us to book an appointment with Dr. Zadeh.