Although they are tiny, the purple, red, or blue vessels known as spider veins can be upsetting to many people. Fortunately, they seldom cause serious medical issues. However, when they affect self-confidence, patients start considering options to get rid of them.
Overview of Spider Veins
Physicians also refer to these abnormal vessels as telangiectasias. While they resemble varicose veins in some ways, they are usually smaller and develop closer to the skin’s surface. The underlying vascular problem responsible for both conditions is venous insufficiency. The American College of Phlebology reports that venous insufficiency patients are likely to have these symptoms:
- A sensation of heaviness in the affected leg
- Pain or other discomfort
- Swelling in a leg
- Leg cramps
- A feeling of fatigue in the leg
These abnormal veins get their name from their resemblance to a spider’s web. The most common places where they develop are the legs and the face.
When a valve in a vein becomes defective, it causes blood traveling toward the heart to fall downward and pool. This causes the vessel to expand, ultimately creating a spider vein. Many patients develop clusters of these veins.
A number of factors can trigger spider vein development. The Cleveland Clinic cites the most common as:
- Carrying excess weight
- Shifts in hormones
- Extended periods of sitting or standing
- Injury to a vein
Spider Vein Treatment Options
Vein specialists offer Texas spider vein treatment on a convenient outpatient basis. For some patients, the goal is keeping the condition from getting worse or decreasing the probability of the appearance of new veins. For others, the objective is eliminating current vessels. Often individuals benefit from a combination of options.
Vein doctors are able to offer three types of treatment for patients in the Houston area:
- Conservative methods stress lifestyle changes such as the use of compression stockings, exercising more, elevating the legs, avoiding crossed legs, shedding excess weight, and wearing shoes and clothes that do not fit tightly.
- Sclerotherapy is the most frequently used therapy. Physicians refer to it as the gold standard of spider vein treatment and sometimes combine it with ultrasound for the most precise results. A vein doctor injects a special substance known as a sclerosant into the targeted vessel using a very fine needle. This substance irritates the vein, causing the walls to stick together and forcing the vein to close and subsequently disappear. Neighboring veins pick up the circulatory duties of the destroyed vessel. The number, size, and location of veins earmarked for elimination determine how many treatment sessions a patient will need.
- Laser/light treatment shrinks a vein with heat. Known as pulsed light therapy or transdermal laser treatment, this procedure heats veins from the outside. This forces them to close and disappear once the body absorbs them.