The appearance of abnormal veins can upset a patient due to cosmetic or medical concerns, or both. One of the types of vein conditions our vein doctors treat is spider veins. Getting the facts about spider veins and the treatment options available at our New Jersey vein clinic can significantly reduce patient stress and anxiety.
Spider Vein Overview
The medical name for a spider vein is telangiectasia. Similar to varicose veins, these abnormal vessels usually have a diameter of less than 2 mm, according to the University of Nebraska Medical Center. This contrasts with varicose vessels, the diameter of which is typically 4 to 5 mm.
Spider veins might be red, blue, or purple and appear closer to the skin’s surface than varicose veins do. They most often develop on a patient’s legs, thighs, or ankles. They take their name from their appearance, which typically resembles a spider’s web or consists of linear streaks. Although varicose vessels can cause discomfort and a number of medical complications, most spider veins present cosmetic issues.
Our vein doctors note that the cause of both types of abnormal vessels is venous insufficiency. One-way valves in veins have become defective, allowing blood destined to return to the heart to leak backward into the veins. Pressure from pooled blood causes the veins to distend, sometimes leading to varicose or spider veins. Fortunately, our New Jersey vein clinic offers patients several spider vein treatment options.
New Jersey Vein Treatment Options
Vein specialists provide three types of outpatient spider vein treatment, Wake Forest® Baptist Health explains:
- Conservative therapy. The objective is to manage spider veins. Wearing compression stockings can improve venous return efficiency and help prevent the pooling of blood. However, it cannot correct the underlying issue or destroy existing abnormal vessels. Other helpful lifestyle changes include elevating the legs whenever possible, using non-prescription medication for pain relief, achieving and maintaining a normal weight, steering clear of tight clothes and shoes, and avoiding prolonged periods of sitting or standing and crossing the legs.
- Laser treatment. A second type of New Jersey vein treatment is transdermal laser therapy. Also known as pulsed light therapy, it treats spider veins by pulsing a light beam into each targeted vessel. Heat from outside these vessels causes them to close. After they dissolve, the body eventually absorbs them.
- Sclerotherapy. This treatment is the so-called gold standard for spider veins as well as small varicose vessels. It takes around 10 minutes at our New Jersey vein clinic. The physician injects a special substance known as a sclerosant into each targeted vein. The sclerosant causes the walls of the vessel to stick together. Eventually, the vein closes, is resorbed, and gradually fades from view. Some patients require multiple sclerotherapy sessions, depending on the number of veins that require treatment.