The appearance of spider veins can be visually unappealing and may even cause pain. If you're looking for spider vein treatment options, it's a good idea to get educated on what they are and the risks each one poses.
What Are Spider Veins?
Sometimes confused with varicose veins, spider veins are the product of small veins that twist and turn. They often appear in a range of colors, including red, blue, and purple. Although they have similar pathologies and causes as varicose veins, they are considered a distinct medical problem. Spider veins tend to be flat and not raise the surface of the skin, while varicose veins cause bulges in the skin.
Spider veins are generally thought to have a low probability of producing serious health problems. In the majority of cases, people experience localized pain and swelling, usually in the legs or the feet.
A handful of extreme cases can pose problems, including skin infections and ulcers. Some people may also see bleeding. The most extreme cases can produce blood clotting and even a deep vein thrombosis, a type of clot that might break off and travel to a vital organ.
There is a range of pain-free spider vein treatment choices on the market today. Practitioners typically lean heavily on sclerotherapy, a technique that calls for the injection of a solution into the vein with a microneedle. This procedure generally leads to no downtime and can be performed on an outpatient basis.
Sclerotherapy has been around since the 1930s, and it has a proven track record. Between 50 and 80% of injection patients see positive results, although some temporary scarring may occur.
Some doctors are beginning to offer alternative therapies, including ones utilizing laser or cryo-sclerotherapy methods. It's wise to discuss such options with a dermatologist.
Once you've gotten rid of the spider veins you're seeing, you'll like want to keep them from coming back. The majority of prevention methods call for lifestyle changes, including increasing physical activity and following a weight loss regimen in order to reduce pressures on the body and improve blood flow to the extremities. In some instances, the patient may also need to adopt a new skin hygiene routine.
Doctors do occasionally prescribe support stockings. In some simpler situations, this can even be used on minor cases to attempt to reduce the veins prior to trying other therapies.