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 the body. Although their medical term is “telangiactasias,” they’ve popularly gained the name “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.
The human body has two types of blood vessels — arteries and veins. The arteries carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body, and the veins carry blood back towards the heart. The valves within the veins act as one-way doors, allowing blood to flow towards the heart and preventing it from flowing backward. The vein valves resist the force of gravity, especially when blood flows from the legs to the heart.
Chronic venous insufficiency is a medical condition wherein the vein valves collapse due to various factors. Consequently, gravitational force makes blood flow backward and accumulate in the leg veins, making them swell and dilate. Over time, the continued accumulation of blood in the leg veins and the elevated pressure on the 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, other risk factors for spider veins include pregnancy, hormone therapy, and 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 they might cause some discomfort. They also look hideous, leading to self-consciousness and social anxieties.
- Early Symptoms of Vein Disease: While spider veins are often asymptomatic, the underlying chronic venous insufficiency may cause the following symptoms — leg heaviness, leg swelling, restless leg syndrome, throbbing leg veins, itching, aching, and tingling sensations.
- Complications of Vein Disease: If left untreated, 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.
The Best Spider Vein Treatment Options in NJ
- Daily Exercise: Running, swimming, and cycling reduce the symptoms of vein disease. They encourage your calf muscles to push the accumulated blood towards the 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.
- Compression Stockings: Compression stockings are skin-tight garments that squeeze the leg veins, pushing the accumulated blood towards the heart. This alleviates the discomfort caused by vein disease and its symptoms, but it doesn’t provide lasting relief. You must consult our vein doctors in NJ for custom-fitted compression stockings according to your specific measurements.
- Sclerotherapy: 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.
- Laser Therapy: Skin laser therapy diminishes the appearance of the smallest spider veins, making it a less-effective alternative to sclerotherapy. However, 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.
- Radiofrequency Ablation: The 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 with no harsh side effects, discomfort, or downtime.
- Endovenous Laser Ablation: The 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, but it causes a little more post-procedural discomfort and bruising than radiofrequency ablation.