What are Spider Veins?
Tangliectasias, or Spider Veins, are small blood vessels that appear near the surface of the skin and may be red, purple, or blue in color. They are frequently found in the legs, around the back of the thighs and calves.
Fortunately, they are considered a cosmetic problem and thus have no real impact on health. However, they may be an indicator that a patient might have a vascular insufficiency, and rarely patients may develop skin ulcer’s if left untreated.
There exist a plethora of minimally invasive treatment options, but only a licensed physician will be able to tell of any underlying issues.
Causes of Spider Veins
Spider Veins are fundamentally caused by structural abnormalities within a blood vessel. These occur naturally, especially with age, and are caused by blood that has “pooled” within the veins. This puts pressure on the vascular walls, and the engorged vein develops reticular veins to compensate.
Reticular Veins are often referred to as feeder veins, and look like dilated green and blue lines beneath the surface of the skin. They may exist independently in hereditary cases, but often are responsible for forming spider veins. They are also considered a cosmetic problem, as they often do not lead to any complications.
Spider Veins are very common in adults, and it seems women develop them more frequently than men. There is a correlation between age, prolonged standing/sitting, hormone therapy, obesity, pregnancy, prior venous injuries, and a history of blood clots.
Spider Vein Treatments
The treatments for Spider Veins are quite simple and minimally invasive. Besides compression stockings and lifestyle changes to manage symptoms, there exists both injection and laser based approaches.
Therapy via injection is traditionally done via Sclerotherapy, and there exists two different types of this treatment.
1. Traditional Sclerotherapy
Traditional Sclerotherapy is done using a solution called Sodium Tertracedyl Sulphate (SBD). The solution is injected into the vein, which causes it to clot. The body then naturally deals with this vein over the next few days.
2. Traditional Sclerotherapy
Foam Sclerotherapy has been in use for the last 10 years or so. This technique is essentially the same as traditional Sclero, but involves aerating and mixing the solution such that it becomes foamy. This means less solution is needed to achieve the same results.
3. Laser therapy
Laser therapy is done by heating up the veins and damaging them so they ebentually disappear. This process is usually done more than one time, and used in combination with sclerotherapy to achieve best the results. However, it can be done independently aswell, so it is a popular approach with individuals who don’t prefer needles. The drawback to this, however, is there may be scarring done to the skin, although very infrequently.
There is also a surgical approach that can be taken. Your doctor will discuss this with you, as very rarely is it necessary. However, it is usually done via vein ligation and stripping. This is a very effective measure for dealing with both the symptoms and cosmetic aspect of varicose veins, but very rarely is it needed for spider veins.
While spider veins can be caused by a variety of factors such as genetics, lifestyle, careers that involve prolonged periods of standing or sitting and certain clotting conditions, identifying the presence of venous reflux disease or other serious vascular conditions coupled with expert treatment can help prevent these vessels from redeveloping over time.