If you have varicose veins that look somewhat like a spider web, hence the term spider veins, you are not alone. The medical term for spider veins, telangiectasias, is a condition in which tiny blood vessels will group together in clusters, giving the appearance of a spider web. While spider veins are most often on the legs and face, they can appear on other parts of the body, too.
People who are at a greater risk for getting spider veins include people who work outside, sit all day long, stand all day long, are pregnant, use corticosteroids and have a skin condition such as rosacea. When someone receives a diagnosis of spider veins in their legs, they often tend to experience a burning or throbbing, as well as a feeling of tired and/or restlessness. These symptoms can make it difficult to get through the day.
While having spider veins, for the most part, does not completely hinder someone’s ability to perform their everyday functions, they can make performing these everyday functions more difficult. According to the Society of Vascular Surgery, varicose veins affect up to 35 percent of the United States population with women being more at risk than men.
Causes and symptoms of spider veins
Heredity, aging, lots of sun exposure, standing often, being overweight, drinking too much alcohol, smoking, hormones, blood clots and having issues like tumors or constipation are all potential causes of varicose veins. Since the veins carry blood to the heart when the muscles squeeze the veins to assist with blood flow, spider veins can negatively impact this process.
When veins are abnormal and/or are not able to function as they should, some of the blood is not able to make it to the heart and instead stays in the legs. The blood that remains in the legs will create varicose veins. Symptoms tend to include a patient experiencing minor pain, various amounts of swelling, itching and/or burning, skin discoloration in the varicose vein area and a feeling of general leg tiredness.
The fact that these symptoms tend to get worse throughout the day due to standing and/or walking, makes it a good idea for patients to wear special compression stockings to help alleviate symptoms. Spider veins can appear suddenly and anywhere on the body. While these tiny blood vessels tend to cause the most problems when forming in the legs, they can form on any part of the body such as the face.
General and aesthetic surgery
The common general surgery option for removing spider veins is the litigation and stripping method. For the most part, we only use this method for severe cases. This general surgical procedure option involves completely removing the veins through a small incision in the skin. Since we often complete this general surgery option to remove veins on an outpatient basis, patients can expect to recover in a short amount of time, usually anywhere between one and four weeks.
While using the litigation and stripping method is often a surgical option when someone has large varicose veins, there are less invasive options available. One of the most common spider vein treatments is known as sclerotherapy, an aesthetic surgery choice. When the patient chooses sclerotherapy, the patient can expect us to inject a special solution into the spider veins, which will cause the vein to collapse and eventually fade over a small amount of time.
Another aesthetic surgery option for spider veins includes using laser surgery. Laser surgery uses a beam of light to heat the veins, which damages the vein so that it will close. Treatment plans for removing spider veins through the use of laser surgery tend to take a few months and require more than one session. Thanks to this treatment, the vein is likely to disappear over the next year or so. Laser surgery can be chosen as a second treatment option after having general surgery to remove large spider veins.
While most people consider spider veins to be harmless, people dislike that the veins are noticeable. Spider vein surgery may also be necessary if the patient is trying to improve the symptoms by using a few self-care home treatment methods and cannot get good results. The fact that aesthetic surgery for spider veins is less invasive than general surgery for spider veins often makes this route the first choice.
If you would like to learn more about spider vein surgery and the various treatments we provide, call 678-256-0506 to schedule a consultation.