Spider Veins Overview
Description of Spider Veins
Spider veins look like dense clusters of red, blue, or purple veins visible just underneath the skin’s surface. They’re usually found on the lower extremities of the body, such as the legs, but they can appear anywhere on your body. Although their medical term is “telangiactasias,” we usually called them “spider veins” because of their spidery appearance.
The Root Cause of Spider Veins
Spider veins are blood vessels with excessively accumulated blood. However, their root cause is an underlying circulatory disorder known as chronic venous insufficiency.
Your body has two types of blood vessels — arteries and veins. The arteries carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body, and the veins carry blood back towards your heart. The valves within your veins act as one-way doors, allowing blood to flow towards your heart and preventing it from flowing backward. Your vein valves resist the force of gravity, especially when blood flows from the legs to your heart.
Chronic venous insufficiency is a medical condition wherein your vein valves collapse due to various factors. Consequently, gravitational force makes blood flow backward and accumulate in your leg veins, making them swell and dilate. Over time, the continued accumulation of blood in your leg veins and the elevated pressure on your superficial veins lead to the formation of spider veins.
Risk Factors for Spider Veins
- Genes: Genetic predisposition, i.e., a family history of spider veins and varicose veins, is the leading risk factor for spider veins. If your mother and father have a history of vein problems, there’s a 90% chance you’ll experience symptoms of vein disease.
- Sex: According to the Office on Women’s Health in America, approximately 54% of women and 45% of men in the US experience spider veins or varicose veins at some point. Sex is one of the leading risk factors for spider veins because higher estrogen levels can weaken the vein valves. For that same reason, you have a higher risk of spider veins if you’re pregnant, undergoing hormone therapy, or taking birth control pills.
- Age: Your vein valves weaken with age, increasing the risk of spider veins. As such, spider veins and varicose veins are usually only found in adults.
- Other Factors: Other risk factors for spider veins include obesity, leg injuries, a history of blood clots, and jobs that require sitting or standing still for long periods.
Symptoms of Spider Veins
- Symptoms of Spider Veins: Spider veins are often asymptomatic, though you may experience some discomfort. They also look hideous, so you may experience self-consciousness and social anxiety.
- Early Symptoms of Vein Disease: While spider veins are often asymptomatic, you may experience numerous symptoms and complications because of the underlying chronic venous insufficiency. You may experience leg heaviness, leg swelling, restless leg syndrome, throbbing leg veins, itching, aching, and tingling sensations.
Complications of Vein Disease:
If left untreated, your vein disease progressively worsens and leads to the following complications — skin changes, skin discoloration, non-healing leg wounds, and deep vein thrombosis.
Spider Vein Treatments at Vein Treatment Center, New Jersey
Our vein treatment centers in New Jersey always run advanced diagnostic tests, such as vascular imaging, to determine if your spider veins are caused by underlying chronic venous insufficiency.
If you don’t have underlying vein disease, spider vein treatment isn’t medically necessary, though we can still remove spider veins using sclerotherapy for aesthetic purposes.
However, if you have underlying vein disease, we use minimally invasive procedures to treat the underlying venous insufficiency before removing the spider veins. If you remove spider veins without treating the underlying vein disease, your spider veins will inevitably return.
We believe this is the ideal cosmetic treatment for spider veins. During an in-office session, your vein doctor in NJ injects a medicine called sclerosant into the spider veins to seal them closed.
Endovenous Laser Ablation:
Our vein doctor uses laser energy to close the diseased vein, treating the root cause of spider veins. This is also an in-office and outpatient procedure. However, you may experience a little more post-procedural discomfort and bruising than radiofrequency ablation.
Our vein doctor uses thermal energy, passed via a catheter, to close the diseased vein responsible for the spider veins. This is an in-office and outpatient procedure that doesn’t cause harsh side effects, discomfort, or downtime.
Skin laser therapy diminishes the appearance of the smallest spider veins, but we believe this is a less effective alternative to sclerotherapy. Laser therapy doesn’t treat the underlying vein disease, isn’t suitable for larger spider veins, and it’s only safe for some skin types.
Compression stockings are skin-tight garments that squeeze the leg veins, pushing the accumulated blood towards the heart. As such, if you wear compression stockings, you may experience temporary relief from the discomfort caused by vein disease and its symptoms. You must consult our vein doctors in NJ for custom-fitted compression stockings according to your specific measurements.
You can reduce the symptoms of vein disease by running, swimming, and cycling. These activities encourage your calf muscles to push the accumulated blood towards your heart, temporarily alleviating the discomfort. However, daily exercise only provides temporary relief from the symptoms — it doesn’t remove spider veins or treat the underlying vein disease.