What is the Difference Between Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?
Varicose veins and spider veins are two different types of vein disease, and both visible surface symptoms of venous insufficiency, the inability of diseased leg veins to push blood back up towards the heart. The surface veins become distended and prominent because the blood that should normally circulate through the body is instead accumulating in the legs.
This is one of the types of vein disease which are considered a medical condition, as they are a larger and more serious manifestation of venous reflux disease. The swollen vessels can protrude several millimeters beyond the skin surface and can become knotted and tangled. Varicose veins are frequently accompanied by clinical symptoms such as pain, throbbing, burning sensations, muscle cramps, and fatigue, and can progress to leg ulcers, blood clots, and other health-endangering conditions.
Spider veins are thin surface veins that turn blue or red under the strain of the venous reflux and affect the appearance of the location where they occur. Spider veins are considered a cosmetic problem, rarely causing physical discomfort, and can be addressed with a variety of non-invasive, techniques.
What Is the Difference Between Cosmetic Surgery and Medical Necessity?
Physicians have been debating the treatment of varicose veins for well over two thousand years – the legendary Hippocrates himself wrote about them in the fifth century BC – but today both medical necessity and health insurance are major factors in determining the course of treatment for the condition.
When varicose or spider veins are treated for the exclusive purpose of improving the patient’s appearance, it is considered cosmetic surgery and will not be covered by the patient’s health insurance or Medicare. Virtually all procedures addressing spider veins will fall into this category.
If, however, the varicose veins are causing symptoms like pain, swelling, fatigue or other symptoms that affect the patient’s ability to work or function normally, or if the underlying venous reflux disease is producing complications like skin ulcers or blood clots, a physician can determine that treatment is required to restore or preserve the patient’s health and well-being, and is therefore considered a medical necessity. Under those circumstances, most health insurance and Medicare plans will cover the procedure.
Small thread or spider veins are a common occurrence on the face. They can be red or bluish and are usually clustered a These “star” shaped veins with numerous radiating lines (resembling a spider’ legs) are a cosmetic concern for millions of women and men. Spider veins are most commonly found around the nose but may occur around the cheeks and lower face area.
What Is the Cause of Facial Veins?
Unlike spider veins on the leg, facial veins are linked to excessive sun exposure. Age is another factor as most older individuals appear to have some degree of spider veins. Certain skin conditions such as Rosacea or Acne Rosacea can cause prominent facial veins.
What Is the Best Way to Prevent Facial Veins?
Sunscreen and hats and other measures that limit sun exposure are the best way to prevent facial veins. If you have rosacea regular treatment of this condition may prevent the associated facial vascularity it causes.
What Is the Best Way to Treat Facial Spider Veins?
Spider and thread veins can be eliminated from several medical procedures. Sclerotherapy can be used on the bluish veins that occur often around the temples and eyes. The fine reddish veins in the center of the face can be treated with a Veinwave radiofrequency device or intense pulsed light treatments. The heat from an intense pulsed light device selectively destroys the abnormal veins. Over time the spider veins disappear. There is minimal recovery time from Intense pulsed light and no recovery time with Veinwave device and the results are immediate.
Are There Any Side Effects from the Treatment of Facial Veins?
Both Veinwave and intense pulsed light are generally safe but in the rare dark-skinned individual, some degree of scarring and/or hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) can occur. There is a rare risk of a skin breakdown and possibly leading to a scar from sclerotherapy of veins on the face.
How Is Laser Used to Treat Facial Spider Veins?
Spider vein treatment is an outpatient procedure. During the laser treatment, your eyes will be covered to protect them from the laser light. The length of the procedure depends upon the size of the area that needs to be treated. The physician applies the laser instrument to the area of treatment with a handheld laser probe. During the treatment, one feels the sensation of a snapping rubber band. If there is excessive pain, the physician can apply a topical local anesthetic a few minutes before the procedure. Most spider veins on the face can be treated within 45-90 minutes.
How Does One Feel After the Laser or Intense Pulsed Light Treatment?
After the procedure, recovery depends on the area treated and the type of laser. You will have no pain but the skin may have a sunburn effect for a few days. The mild bruising and swelling usually take 7-10 days to disappear.
How Does One Feel After the Veinwave Treatment?
There is no discomfort or after-effects from the Veinwave treatment.