Spider Veins

Spider veins, also known as venulectasias, area a common problem amongst men and women.

Spider veins are found close to the surface of the skin, are highly visible and typically appear on the thighs, calves, and face. If you are dealing with the unsightly and uncomfortable problem of spider veins, you are not alone. Spider veins are a fairly common problem and for those who suffer from it, finding an effective method to remove spider veins is of primary importance.

There are many diverse treatment options available for spider vein removal. Some of these include creams, injections, surgical procedures, or laser intervention. Due to the common presentation of spider veins, many treatments have been developed for the removal of spider veins for both cosmetic and physical purposes.

What are Spider Veins?

Spider veins are small, twisted veins that appear most commonly on the face and legs. They can be red, purple or bluish in color, and they are called spider veins because they frequently sprawl out in a spider-web like pattern.

Spider veins can appear in small patches where they aren't very noticeable, or they can cover large areas of skin, resulting in an obviously unattractive appearance. Spider veins are caused when small, superficial blood vessels pop or dilate and rise above the skin surface. They are similar to varicose veins, but much smaller.

Spider Veins

Spider veins occur most frequently on the legs, and they typically appear in one of the following three forms or patterns:

  • They can appear in a spider shape with a group of veins radiating outward from a central point.
  • They can appear in a divergent pattern that resembles branches on a tree.
  • They can also appear as a number of thin separate lines, each about the size of a hair.

In some cases, spider veins can produce pain and discomfort in the patient and interfere with a person's quality of life. In some cases, if left untreated, they can develop into more serious conditions.

If spider veins are bothersome, either in terms of physical discomfort or in terms of appearance, they can be treated through the use of a surgical laser or through the injection of a special solution. After a treatment of this sort, there is typically a greatly improved appearance.

Spider Veins

Spider Vein Patch

Causes of Spider Veins

A number of different factors can predispose a person to spider veins.

Heredity can play a role, as can obesity. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, puberty and menopause can also contribute. Similarly, the use of birth control pills or postmenopausal hormonal replacement can increase a woman's risk for developing spider veins.

People in occupations that require a lot of standing, such as nurses, teachers, factory workers and hair stylists may be at a higher risk for spider veins. A history of blood clots will also up one's chances of developing spider veins. One's chances of getting spider veins goes up when there is longstanding increased abdominal pressure. This can result from conditions such as tumors and constipation, and it can also result from wearing constricting garments like girdles. Trauma or injury to the skin, overexposure to ultraviolet rays and previous vein surgeries may also increase a person's risk of developing spider veins.

Spider veins are more common in women than in men, and they increase in frequency with age. An estimated 30% to 60% of adults have venous problems such as varicose veins or spider veins.

Symptoms of Spider Veins

In addition to being unsightly, spider veins can cause symptoms such as aching, heaviness, itching and night cramps.

Many patients with spider veins complain of aching or cramping sensations in the legs. Other common symptoms of spider veins include feelings of tiredness, restlessness, burning, throbbing, tingling, and heaviness. This pain may be worse during certain parts of the menstrual cycle, or during pregnancy.

Typically, the larger the blood vessel, the more likely it is to cause pain, although sometimes even small spider veins can cause significant discomfort. Treating spider veins medically can help to reduce or eliminate the amount of pain associated with them.

Why Remove or Treat Spider Veins?

Spider veins are unsightly, and they can cause pain or discomfort. But these aren't the only reasons to consider having your spider veins treated. In some cases, they can actually pose a health threat.

Patients suffering from spider veins also may develop swelling and ulcers (large sores). They may also experience an increase in the pigmentation of their skin, especially in the ankle region.

If untreated, spider veins sometimes contribute to painful and potentially dangerous bloods clot and vein inflammation. This condition, which is called thrombophlebitis, can in rare cases lead to pulmonary embolisms.

Treatment Options for Spider Veins

Spider veins can easily be removed through a number of different methods. The different spider vein removal procedures are safe, effective and provide fast results.

If you are thinking about undergoing spider vein treatment, it is important that you know a little about what procedures are available and which ones could potentially help you. Please remember, though, that the only way to know for sure which treatment will ultimately be best for is to actually speak with a spider vein specialist. If you would like to speak with a doctor, please just use our spider vein Specialist Locator to find one in your area.

There are several major forms of treatment for spider veins:

  • Support stockings. The most conservative approach to treat spider veins is to simply wear properly-fitting support hose. The compression that these garments provide can help to relieve some of the pain and discomfort that your spider veins might cause. These stockings can be purchased at surgical supply stores and at some pharmacies. They come in below-the-knee, above-the-knee, and pantyhose styles.
  • Lifestyle changes. Good skin hygiene, weight loss (if needed), and walking can help to reduce or control spider veins.
  • Sclerotherapy. This procedure, which has been available since the 1930s, is another treatment option for spider veins. This procedure uses a highly concentrated saline solution or a specially made detergent that is injected directly into the spider vein. This causes the vein to gradually disappear over the next three to six weeks. The sclerotherapy procedure for spider vein removal is simple, relatively inexpensive, and can be performed in an outpatient setting.
  • Endovenous Laser Treatment. In this procedure a small laser is inserted into the vein. Pulses of laser light are delivered inside the vein, which causes the vein to collapse. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia.
  • Radiofrequency Occlusion. During this procedure, a small catheter is inserted into the spider vein. The catheter heats the vein, causing it to close off. The blood supply then reroutes to other, healthy veins. This procedure is generally done in an outpatient or in-office setting, and it can be performed under local anesthesia.
  • Lasers and Intense Pulsed Light. Procedures such as Vasculight and PhotoDerm use lasers or high intensity pulses of light to selectively damage or destroy abnormal veins like spider veins. One advantage of these treatments is that no needles are required; the entire procedure is performed through the skin. However, side effects do sometimes occur, including blisters and discoloration or staining of the skin.

Who Is A Good Candidate For Spider Vein Treatment?

Spider vein treatments can relieve physical discomfort and help to improve a person’s appearance. The best candidates for this sort of treatment are adults who are in good health.

Candidates for spider vein treatment must be at least 18 years of age, and they need to have a certain level of physical health in order to undergo this sort of procedure. Having a good level of health helps to minimize the chance of complications, and it also helps the healing process to proceed better. Patients with certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, pregnancy or cardiac disease may not be eligible for certain forms of spider vein treatment. People who smoke may have to quit before they are able to undergo the procedure.

In addition to being physically healthy, the best candidates are similarly mentally healthy and stable. Ideal candidates also have realistic expectations regarding the procedure and are well-informed regarding the treatment and its likely outcomes.

A patient's willingness to follow the specialist's instructions regarding recovery and aftercare is, of course, also extremely important.

In the end, the spider vein specialist you meet with will have the final call on whether or not you are a good candidate. The specialist will also be able to tell you which form of treatment would suit you the best.

Important Things To Know About Spider Veins and Spider Vein Treatment

Having spider veins is a chronic condition.

Without some form of treatment or significant changes in lifestyle and health, spider veins are unlikely to disappear on their own.

Spider vein treatments are meant to help remove or reduce already existent spider veins. This can improve a patient's appearance and help to reduce the patient's sensations of pain and discomfort. However, spider vein treatments will not prevent new spider veins from emerging.

It is also important to know that you will probably need more than one session of treatment. The majority of spider vein treatments require repeat work.

Finding The Right Spider Vein Doctor

One of the most important steps in your quest to rid yourself of troublesome spider veins is to find a qualified and skilled specialist to treat you. Having a properly skilled specialist will help you to avoid complications and to have the most successful spider vein treatment possible.

Many spider vein doctors specialize in specific spider vein treatment techniques, so if you already have a good idea of which type of treatment you want, this can help to guide you in your search for a doctor. If you don't know which type of treatment you want, your specialist can help you to decide what will be best for you.

Our Specialist Locator is a fantastic resource for finding qualified and skilled spider vein specialists right in your area.

Finding great doctors is just a click away. Once you've found some spider vein specialists in your area, you will easily be able to visit their websites, view before and after pictures, and learn a little about the specialists.

Once you've found one or more spider vein doctors that you are interested in, you can schedule a consultation. This consultation may be free, or it may cost a small fee.

Spider Vein Consultation

At your consultation, your spider vein doctor will learn about your medical history and perform an evaluation of your body. After reviewing your history and examining your physical condition, your specialist will be able to know whether or not you would be a good candidate for treatment.

During the consultation, you will also have a chance to learn more about the spider vein treatment that your doctor suggests you use. You will learn about where the procedure will take place, how much it will cost and how many sessions will be required. Similarly, you will learn what sorts of results you can expect from the treatment.

At your consultation, you should feel free to ask any questions that you might have regarding the procedure and regarding the specialist. You want to ensure that you are choosing the right doctor for you, both for your appearance and your health's sake.

Here are some questions that you might consider asking your spider vein doctor:

  • What spider vein treatment do you perform most often?
  • How long have you been performing this type of treatment?
  • How often do you perform this type of treatment?
  • Can I look at before and after pictures from some of your previous patients?
  • Can I speak with some of your past patients?
  • How often do you have to do repeat work?
  • Have any of your patients ever experienced severe complications due to this procedure?

Your spider vein consultation is also a great opportunity for you to flesh out your understanding of the treatment. You might want to consider asking questions that help you to understand the procedure that could be performed on you.

Here are some more examples of questions that you could ask your doctor:

  • Am I a good candidate for spider vein treatment?
  • Which form of spider vein treatment is right for me?
  • What is the recovery time after this sort of treatment?
  • What should I expect after my treatment? Will there be much soreness or bruising?
  • Are there any activities I should avoid during my recovery?

If during the course of your consultation, you feel confident that you have found the spider vein doctor and the treatment that you want, you can feel free to schedule your treatments. If, however, you feel uncomfortable for any reason, don't feel pressured into making a decision yet.

Insurance Coverage for Spider Vein Treatment

Although many insurance companies cover the cost of treating varicose veins, they do not generally cover spider vein treatments. Spider vein treatments are typically considered to be cosmetic procedures, which means that they are not usually covered by insurance.

However, if your spider veins cause you pain and discomfort, and if your doctor recommends spider vein treatment for health reasons then it is possible that your insurance could help. Please check with your insurance to know more about spider vein treatment coverage. If you think that there is a possibility that your insurance company could help pay for your treatment, check with them before considering treatment options.

The Cost Of Spider Vein Treatment

The cost of your spider vein treatment will depend on which technique is used, who your doctor is, and where the procedure is performed. Speaking in extremely general terms, your spider vein treatment cost will probably be somewhere between $100 and $500 per session.

Because many people cannot afford to pay the price of spider vein treatment out of pocket, many spider vein doctors offer payment and financing plans. These plans help to make spider vein treatments affordable to everyone, no matter their income. Ask your doctor about what financing plans are available for you.

The Benefits of Spider Vein Treatment

Getting rid of your spider veins can help you to have an increased sense of well-being, a more pain-free life, a more beautiful appearance and an increased sense of confidence. Although people once had to suffer through spider vein discomfort without any way of treating it, today there are many procedures available to help remove spider veins.

At Spider Vein Guide, we're here to help you to learn everything that you need to know about these procedures so that you can make the best choice for you. The more you know, the better the decision you will be able to make. For more information, please visit the other sections of our website. Should you decide to start looking for a spider vein doctor, please make use of our Specialist Locator.

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