Otherwise known as thread veins, spider veins are thin, small blood vessels that are visible through the skin. Not to be confused with varicose veins, spider veins do not bulge underneath the surface.
More than 40 percent of women have some form of varicose vein condition including spider veins, with an increasing incidence of venous disease as one gets older, so that up to 80 percent of women have some form of venous disease by age 80.
Valve damage may occur as the result of aging and reduced mobility. Valve damage can cause blood to leak down and pool in the leg veins. This causes the leg veins to stretch and weaken, impairing their ability to transport blood efficiently. This is called venous insufficiency. Accumulation of blood in the legs also creates new, superficial veins just under the skin’s surface, and these are called spider veins.
A blood clot in a deep vein in your leg (called deep vein thrombosis) can damage a valve. So can sitting or standing for long stretches of time. Sitting or standing for long periods of time raises pressure in your veins and may weaken the valves. There are other factors that can lead to venous insufficiency and spider veins as well. Women are more likely than men to get spider veins. Your chances also might be higher if you are:
Over age 50
Pregnant or have been pregnant more than once
From a family with a history of spider veins
Someone with history of blood clots
Even though spider veins look like small insignificant veins under the skin, they could be an indicator of a deeper vascular problem inside your leg veins. If you experience symptoms such as swelling, pain or changes in your skin, you should talk to your doctor. A referral to a vascular surgeon for a vein scan and assessment may be needed. If there is, you can remove the spider veins via laser vein removal or sclerotherapy.
Laser Vein Removal
Laser vein removal is a quick, effective and noninvasive procedure that uses a focused beam of light to heat and destroy affected veins. When laser energy is applied to the treatment area, it targets the pigment in the blood and warms the vessel without damaging the skin or surrounding tissues. Over time – usually, in four to six weeks after treatment – the vein is reabsorbed by the body and disappears. Blood gets rerouted to healthier veins.
During laser spider vein treatment, you will be given a pair of goggles that protect your eyes from the intense laser light. Next, ultrasound gel is applied to the area being treated. The cool tip laser will be placed against the skin over the spider veins. You may feel some uncomfortable sensations as the laser fires; patients often say it feels like a rubber band snapping against their skin. Laser vein treatment requires no downtime, though it’s common to experience some inflammation and redness in the treated area.
We use the Cutera XEO 1064 YAG Coolglide for our laser vein removal treatments. Below is results after one treatment.
Laser vein therapy can be one of the most effective spider vein treatment options for a variety of patients. The ideal patient is in good overall health, does not smoke and has realistic expectations for the procedure. It may also be the best choice if you are allergic to the chemicals used in sclerotherapy, if you are afraid of needles or if your spider veins are too small to be injected. You may not be a candidate if you have certain medical conditions, if you are pregnant, have tattoos in the treatment area or if you take certain medications.
The amount of treatments needed depend on the number, color and size of the veins being treated, more than one session may be required to achieve an optimal outcome. Appointments will be scheduled approximately six weeks apart for the duration of your treatment.
What can you do to improve blood flow in the legs and help improve and prevent more damage to your vessels?
1. Exercises that focus on the lower legs are effective because venous insufficiency usually affects veins there. Specifically, exercises that focus on the muscles in your calves because the force is gravity is the greatest there, so the veins there must work harder to pump blood. Exercising the muscles of your lower limbs helps your heart pump blood up through your legs. Exercise also builds muscles, which promotes better circulation.
2. Compression thigh high stockings greater than 30mmHG - wear them when you will be sitting or standing for long periods of time.
3. Maintain a healthy weight.
4. Avoid smoking.
Ready to book for laser vein removal? Contact our office today and schedule your consultation!