What are spider veins?
Spider veins are small varicose veins which are close to the skin surface. They are often red or blue in color. They get their name from their appearance on the skin, which is that of tree branches or spider webs. They are found on the legs and face and involve a small, or very large area of the skin. They are caused by the backup of blood within the vein system. They can also come from hormonal changes, sun exposure, and injuries. Spider veins appear more commonly on the legs due to pressure of one's body weight, force of gravity, and the need to carry blood from the tips of one's toes back up to a person's heart.
Spider veins are rarely a serious health problem. They may cause a burning or itching sensation. The spider veins may be a sign of blood backing up in the deep veins within the leg that are not readily seen. In this case a person may experience aching pain, throbbing, and a heavy sensation within the legs.
What can I expect during an evaluation for spider veins?
A medical history regarding your leg veins will be taken. Questions about prior treatment of varicose veins and possible blood clots in the past will be asked. You will be asked about the symptoms you may be experiencing. Your legs will be examined in the sitting as well as standing position. An ultrasound evaluation will be ordered of your legs. This will check for blood flow within your veins and possible blood clots. If there is no additional findings in regards to your spider veins treatment options will be discussed.
How are spider veins treated?
- Sclerotherapy - A medication is placed into the spider veins via injection. The medication destroys the lining of the vein, causing the vein to scar down and disappear.
A person will generally require several sessions to obtain the desired results.
What are the risks to consider when undergoing treatment of spider veins?
- Skin discoloration
- Allergies to agents or materials used
- Need for additional therapy
When considering treatment for spider veins you need to understand that this is an extremely personal decision. You need to decide if the benefits will achieve your desired goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable.