What are Spider Veins
Spider veins, technically known as telangiectasias or angioectasias, are small, dilated blood vessels near the surface of the skin or mucous membranes, measuring between 0.5 and 1 millimeter in diameter. They can develop anywhere on the body, but are commonly seen on the face around the nose, cheeks, and chin.
Spider veins may be there because of local trauma to the area (after an injury or bruise). They may be present due to hormone changes associated with menstruation, use of birth control pills, or pregnancy, or they may be there because the veins underneath them are varicose.
Spider veins are usually harmless, though they can sometimes cause aching, burning, or pain, especially when standing or sitting for long periods of time. If they are associated with larger varicose veins, the treatment for spider veins alone will likely be less effective unless the larger veins are treated first. Consult with your doctor at Center for Advanced Vein Care to determine which treatment is best for you.
Causes of Spider Veins
Blood Vessels: The heart pumps blood filled with oxygen and nutrients to the whole body. Arteries carry blood from the heart towards the body parts, while veins carry blood from the body back towards the heart. As your leg muscles squeeze, they push blood back to the heart from your lower body against the flow of gravity. Veins have valves that act as one-way flaps to prevent blood from flowing backward as it moves up the legs. If these valves fail, blood begins to collect in the vein rather than continuing toward the heart. This can lead to spider veins.
Risk Factors: Several factors increase the risk of developing spider veins, including:
- Gender (women are more likely than men)
- Family history
- Hormonal changes
- Weight gain
- Sitting or standing for long periods
- Sun exposure (for facial spider veins)
Prevention of Spider Veins
Exercise regularly to improve your leg strength, circulation, and vein strength.
Control your weight to prevent placing too much pressure on your legs.
Do not cross your legs when sitting and try to elevate your legs when resting.
Wear compression stockings.
Avoid standing or sitting for long periods. If your job requires you to sit or stand for extended periods, try to change your position frequently.
Spider Veins Treatment
Several spider vein treatments are available through our Advanced Vein Clinic.
Sclerotherapy is a procedure during which your vein doctor injects the veins with a solution that scars and closes those veins, causing the blood to reroute through healthier veins. In a few weeks, treated spider veins fade. Although the same vein may need to be injected more than once, sclerotherapy is usually effective if done correctly. Sclerotherapy doesn’t require anesthesia and can be done in our vein clinic. Side effects include swelling, itching, and skin color changes in the treated area.
Surgery is no longer the only option for treatment of vein conditions such as spider veins!
Newer techniques such as endovenous laser thermal ablation (EVLA), radiofrequency ablation thermal ablation (RF), varithena, Venaseal, ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy, and visually guided sclerotherapy allow for the treatment and management of most vein conditions WITHOUT the need for hospitalization, major surgery with general or regional anesthesia, or prolonged recovery times! Most people can be back to work or their daily routines immediately; any restrictions are typically lifted within one week, and most evaluations and treatments are covered by insurance. Contact our vein clinic today to learn your options for spider vein treatment!