The development of spider veins is a common occurrence that tends to show up more frequently in women than in men. While spider veins can show up anywhere on the body, they tend to be most noticeable and prevalent along the legs. Some patients notice spider veins developing along the face and arms as well. Fortunately, spider veins don’t tend to come with painful symptoms, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a frustrating condition for those individuals who value clear, healthy and younger-looking skin. It’s often cosmetic motivation that sends patients to seek out cosmetic treatment options related to spider veins and in the modern world of cosmetic technology, there are plenty of solutions waiting to be explored.
Understanding the Development of Spider Veins
Spider veins are generally noticed as purple, red or blue lines that web across the surface of the skin. While the colorful aesthetic of these veins seems rather close to the surface, the problem and cause often lie well below the surface. Veins are charged with the responsibility of moving blood throughout the body and back to the heart to be pumped once more. In order to keep blood flowing in the correct direction, veins rely on a series of valves that help the effort work against gravity’s pull. When one of many of these valves malfunctions, blood can quickly begin to flow the opposite direction and cause pooling and increased pressure in both small and large veins alike. Structural abnormalities begin to occur due to this pooling and pressure such as vein engorgement or dilation. The result at the surface tends to be spider veins while deeper vein issues may result in the development of varicose veins.
While it’s difficult to point to an exact cause for valve malfunction and ultimately, the appearance of spider veins, some experts point to severe hormonal fluctuations often associated with pregnancy, weight fluctuations or even the use of birth control. Age, family history and prior vein issues or surgeries have also been linked to the development of both spider veins and varicose veins.
Treatment Options for Spider Veins
Fortunately for those individuals suffering from spider veins, there’s no reason to simply live with these uninvited aesthetic additions. Instead, cosmetic professionals are pleased to offer a variety of minimally invasive options that can both reduce and sometimes eliminate the appearance of spider veins altogether. One of the most popular choices for patients is sclerotherapy.
This specialized and highly successful treatment option comes with the added benefit of being an outpatient procedure that can be completed in the comfort of the attending physician’s office in a rather short amount of time. Patients who elect sclerotherapy are often thrilled to learn that this service comes with a relatively short recovery period as well as doesn’t require the use of general anesthesia.
Treatment begins with a clear marking on the part of the physician of those areas that are affected by spider veins. Once the treatment area is clearly marked, the attending physician will use an ultrasound to guide the injection of liquid or foam sclerosant directly into the problematic veins.
The injection of sclerosant works to irritate the affected veins to the point of closure and collapse. As the vein closes, blood is naturally directed away from the treatment site and towards other, healthier veins. Over time, the veins are naturally reabsorbed into the body, leaving patients with clearer, more healthy-looking skin free of webbed spider veins.
Results of Sclerotherapy
For the vast majority of patients that use sclerotherapy to treat spider veins, fading of these veins will be most noticeable three to six weeks after treatment is completed. At most, patients tend to report slight bruising or discoloration at the site of injections that quickly fades within a few days after sclerotherapy is performed. To achieve the desired results, patients may require multiple sessions.
The exclusive use of local anesthetic when undergoing sclerotherapy for spider vein removal means that patients who choose this route for treatment don’t have to worry about any risks associated with general anesthesia. A quick recovery also eliminates those worries surrounding infections that can come with a hospital stay or a lengthy recovery period.
Similar to other cosmetic procedures, the cost associated with this treatment option will vary depending on the size of the treatment area and the number of sessions required to achieve successful results. When insurance isn’t available, the team at the St. Louis Laser Vein Center is here to help walk patients through in-clinic financing options. Contact Dr. Wright and his team today to learn more about our many services and to explore if ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy is right for you.