Spider veins are small, twisted superficial blood vessels that are visible through the skin. They may be red, blue or purple and usually appear on the thighs, legs or face. They actually have an unsightly spiderweb appearance. Walking in shorts and miniskirts can be a woman’s worse nightmare when spider veins are present.
Spider Vein TreatmentVaricose veins, however, are those thickened, rope like engorged veins of the legs and thighs.
What Causes Spider/Varicose Veins?
Healthy veins carry blood to the heart through a series of one-way valves. The vessels are supported by muscles which
contract pump blood to the heart. As we age these “vein valves” become defective and allow blood to flow backward and pool inside the vein. As a result, the vein tends to bulge and twist. Depending on the size of the blood vessel and extent of swelling, the result is a thickened spider vein or varicose vein.
Your doctor may recommend support stockings, lifestyle changes, like maintaining a healthy weight and no prolonged standing at work as well as not wearing overly tight clothes, to help you reduce the appearance of spider veins. However, some spider veins require more direct intervention, especially if they are on the legs or face. Then, your doctor might recommend noninvasive laser vein removal.
Laser Treatments – This is the preferred non-invasive treatment for spider veins on the legs, thighs and face. Pulsed laser light is delivered to the affected area. The hemoglobin pigment in the pooled blood trapped in the vein, absorbs the laser energy and converts it to heat energy. The heat energy collapses the wall of the vein destroying the spider vein without the need for cutting or chemicals. The body has “garbage men” organisms called phagocytes which gobble up the vein fragments much like “pac man” and removes it from the body through the lymphatic system. This treatment causes the unsightly appearance of the spider veins to fade away over a 2-3 week period.
Spider VeinsVaricose vein therapy involves a more invasive therapeutic strategy involving laser therapy. Endogenous Laser therapy is a new alternative for veins that were once only treatable by surgery. A small laser fiber is placed inside the vein, pressure is placed on the vein, and the laser delivers pulses of laser light. Just like with the laser spider vein therapy the hemoglobin pigment in the trapped blood absorbs the laser energy converting it to heat energy. This heat energy causes the vein wall to collapse and destroys the vein. Studies suggest endovenous laser is effective 98% of the time. Patients also report less pain and a quicker recovery than with ligation and stripping.
University of California – San Francisco (n.d.) Vascular and Endovascular Surgery: Varicose Veins. Retrieved from http://www.vascular.surgery.ucsf.edu/conditions–procedures/varicose-veins.aspx
This article was originally published by Murray Riggins, M.D. on MyMASC.com. Dr. Riggins offers cosmetic medical treatments at his Gadsden, Alabama practice, and he provides beauty and health products to customers across the country. Learn more about Instantly Ageless and FGXpress PowerStrips.