Spider Veins are the small thin, thread-like veins that are seen just beneath the surface of the skin. These are very small blood vessels that appear on the face and legs. They sometimes look like spider webs or tree branches. It is very common to find spider veins on the lateral thigh. Spider veins are caused mainly by heredity. Other factors contributing to spider veins includes weight gain, long periods of standing, and increased hormones during pregnancy. Its been estimated that fifty percent of women in the United States are affected by spider veins and up to 80 million Americans cover their legs daily because of unsightly spider veins. Some patients seek medical treatment for spider veins because they are uncomfortable with symptoms, such as aching, burning, swelling and cramping. Properly treating these veins corrects both your symptoms and the appearance of your legs.
The gold standard for treating spider veins and smaller veins is sclerotherapy. A sclerosing solution is injected into the vein, which causes the vein to collapse. The vein is gradually absorbed by the body. There are several new sclerosants that are much more effective, safer, and less painful than hypertonic saline or salt solutions. It is very important to treat the feeder veins which are causing the spider veins. We use special lights to look for these very important feeder veins. If the source is not treated the veins will return. This is another reason external lasers or transdermal lasers are not very effective. Lasers are not effective as precise injections into the veins, and they cannot destroy the source of the spider veins. If your doctor only offers laser treatments, be prepared for less than optimal results. Sclerotherapy done poorly or with an ineffective sclerosant, such as saline, does have a high recurrance rate. So it is important to see a doctor who has specialized training in phlebology. Be sure your doctor has special light sources to transilluminate the skin, and look under the skin to find the feeder veins. Ultrasound is also important even with simple spider veins, ultrasound helps eliminate all sources of reflux which may be causing the spider veins.
Who should do the treatments for spider veins?
Have your veins treated only at a practice that specializes in phlebology. The doctor or nurse should be board certified or specially trained in phlebology. You should not allow non-physician treatment unless the doctor is on the premises or the provider is a nurse practitioner with special training. Seek out a center where the practice is dedicated to the treatment of venous disease.
Dr. J. Michael Leary at California Vein Specialists is a specialist in venous disease. He is board certified in phlebology and emergency medicine. He has specialized exclusively in venous disease for over nine years. Dr. Leary is a recognized leader in endovenous procedures, training many physicians from all over the United States.