If you have to have vein problems, spider veins are one of the minor problems. However, they might make you feel uncomfortable about wearing shorts or a swimsuit, and sometimes they can cause symptoms like burning, itching or mild discomfort. Here’s what you need to know about spider veins, from Metro Vein Centers, your premier Minnesota vein clinic.
What Causes Spider Veins?
Spider veins are a kind of varicose vein. Arteries rely on pressure from the heart’s contractions to move blood, but veins need help. Muscle contractions in the large muscles of the leg help pump the blood back toward the heart. Each vein also has numerous small tissue flaps called valves. In each pause between heartbeats, the valves fall closed and help keep blood from flowing backward. The veins can wear out (doctors say become incompetent). When they do, blood pools in the veins, causing them to become distended. Spider veins are simply much smaller varicose veins than the kind you often see on the legs. Spider veins may also show up on the face or other areas of the body.
How to Get Rid of Spider Veins
Sclerotherapy is used for both spider vein treatment and varicose vein treatment. Sclero is a Greek word meaning “scar,” which is how it works. The doctor injects an irritating solution or foam into the vein with a tiny needle. Although the solution irritates the vein wall, most patients report little to no discomfort during the procedure – sometimes there is a slight burning sensation. The solution makes the veins swell dramatically and then collapse. Once they collapse, pressure dressings or special compression stockings are used to press the vein walls together. The pressure makes the veins scar closed. Eventually, the veins are absorbed into the surrounding tissue. They may not be completely invisible, but they are so much lighter as to be nearly unnoticeable.
More About the Procedure
Sclerotherapy is an office-based procedure. Most people don’t even need a local anesthetic, although it is available. The process takes about 20 to 30 minutes, and you can go home immediately afterward. You should hold off on strenuous exercise for a week or two but can otherwise resume your normal activities. You’ll need to wear the bandages or stockings for about two weeks. Some people experience a little swelling or burning near the injection sites. This gold-standard treatment for spider veins has been used successfully for many years, and complications are rare.
If you have spider veins, help is at hand. Call us to schedule an appointment for a consultation. We can also answer any questions you might have.