Spider veins, also known as telangiectasias, are small veins that appear close to the skin’s surface and often appear as red, blue, or purple webs. While they are usually harmless, they can sometimes cause discomfort, such as itching or burning sensations. They can also be unsightly and lead to self-consciousness. This article discusses how you can treat spider veins.
At Long Island Vein Center, we specialize in minimally invasive spider vein and varicose vein treatments such as sclerotherapy, endovenous laser ablation, radiofrequency ablation, VenaSeal, ClariVein, and ambulatory phlebectomy. We always diagnose the root cause of spider veins and varicose veins via vascular imaging before curating a treatment plan.
Causes of Spider Veins
Spider veins can appear for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common causes include:
- Heredity: A family history of spider veins or varicose veins increases the likelihood of developing them.
- Sitting or standing for long periods: Blood flow in your legs can be reduced when sitting or standing for extended periods, causing blood to pool in your veins.
- Age: As you get older, the walls of your blood vessels can weaken, making spider veins more likely to develop.
- Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes that occur during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can cause spider veins.
Wearing Compression Stockings
One way to treat spider veins is to wear compression stockings. These stockings are designed to improve blood flow in your legs and reduce the amount of blood pooling in your veins. They work by squeezing your legs, which helps to move blood up towards your heart. Compression stockings come in different levels of pressure, so it is important to consult with a doctor to find the right type of compression stockings for you.
While compression stockings can reduce the symptoms of spider veins and varicose veins, they can’t treat the underlying problem. As such, compression stockings can only provide temporary relief but you still need to contact a vein doctor for treatment.
Ambulatory phlebectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that removes small varicose veins from the surface of the skin. During the procedure, tiny incisions are made near the affected veins, and a small hook is used to remove the vein. Ambulatory phlebectomy is performed on an outpatient basis, and patients can return to normal activities immediately.
Sclerotherapy is a popular and highly effective minimally invasive treatment for spider veins. It is a safe and quick procedure that can be performed in our office by one of our board-certified vein doctors. During sclerotherapy, a solution is injected directly into the affected vein. The solution irritates the vein lining, causing it to collapse and stick together. Over time, the vein turns into scar tissue and fades away, making it much less visible or disappearing altogether.
The procedure usually takes about 30 minutes, depending on the number and size of the veins being treated. You can expect to receive multiple injections during the session. The injections themselves may cause mild discomfort, but most people do not find it too uncomfortable.
Endovenous Laser Ablation
Endovenous laser ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that uses laser energy to treat varicose veins and underlying venous insufficiency. During the procedure, a small laser fiber is inserted into the affected vein, and laser energy is used to heat and close the vein. Endovenous laser ablation can be performed on an outpatient basis, and patients can return to normal activities immediately.
Radiofrequency ablation is a similar procedure to endovenous laser ablation, but it uses radiofrequency energy instead of laser energy to heat and close the affected vein. Radiofrequency ablation can also be performed on an outpatient basis, and patients can return to normal activities immediately.
VenaSeal is a state-of-the-art minimally invasive procedure that uses a medical adhesive to treat spider veins. Unlike traditional vein treatments, VenaSeal does not require the use of heat or anesthesia. Instead, the procedure uses a small catheter to deliver the adhesive directly into the affected vein, sealing it shut.
During the procedure, a small amount of medical adhesive is delivered to the affected vein through the catheter. The adhesive is then spread throughout the vein using a gentle pressure, causing the vein to seal shut. The procedure takes less than an hour to complete, and it can be performed on an outpatient basis.
VenaSeal is a very safe procedure with very few risks. The medical adhesive used in the procedure has been extensively tested and has a long history of safe use in other medical procedures. Some patients may experience mild discomfort or bruising around the injection site, but these side effects typically resolve quickly.
Diagnosing Spider Veins
Before treating spider veins, it is important to determine the root cause of the problem. At Long Island Vein Center, we use duplex ultrasound to diagnose the underlying cause of spider veins. This diagnostic procedure allows us to see the structure of your veins and determine whether there are any underlying issues that need to be addressed.
Preventing Spider Veins
While spider veins can be treated, there are steps you can take to prevent them from developing in the first place. Some of the things you can do to minimize the risk of spider veins include:
- Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help improve blood flow in your legs and prevent spider veins.
- Avoid sitting or standing for long periods: If you have a job that requires you to sit or stand for long periods, try to take frequent breaks and stretch your legs.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight can put extra pressure on your veins and increase your risk of developing spider veins.
- Elevate your legs: Elevating your legs above your heart can help improve blood flow and reduce the risk of spider veins.
At Long Island Vein Center, we have multiple locations across Long Island, including South Shore, North Shore, the Hamptons, and the Port Jefferson area. Our board-certified vein doctors use the latest techniques and technologies to provide personalized care for spider veins and varicose veins. Contact us to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards healthier legs.