Since shorts, bathing suit and skirt season is finally here, it’s that time of the year when a great deal of female patients come to my office complaining about those fine, little blue, red or purple twisty spider veins on their legs, seeking the latest spider vein treatment.
What I tell my patients with spider veins is two-fold. First, you are not alone. Upwards of 55 percent of women in the United States suffer from some type of vein problem, which includes these annoying spider veins. Second, there are several types of treatments available to relieve your spider veins, from both a cosmetic and medical perspective. Here are some things I like to tell my patients about the different types of spider vein treatment:
1. Compression Stockings
The first treatment I always recommend for not only spider veins, but for any vein problem, is the daily use of medical grade compression stockings, particularly for anyone whose work or activities have prolonged standing or sitting. While these are not the latest fashion worn on the runways of Paris, they are not the old-fashioned “granny” stockings. These specialized, elastic hosiery work by squeezing the legs, to relieve any venous pooling, thereby improving blood flow from the legs back to the heart. Depending on the severity of your condition, I may recommend over-the-counter or prescription-strength stockings.
2. Injection Sclerotherapy
This is the gold standard of spider vein treatment. When patients undergo sclerotherapy, a special, FDA-approved liquid is injected into the vein through a tiny needle, creating inflammation within the lining of the vein, causing it to seal or glue itself shut, and eventually turning it into scar tissue. After a few weeks, the troublesome spider vein should disappear. This procedure is very easy to undergo, with little, if any, discomfort, and no downtime, nor does it require anesthesia. However, I always tell my patients that it will take several treatments, over a period of months, to get rid of the troublesome spider veins.
3. Topical or Superficial Laser Treatment
Another type of spider vein treatment is the use of lasers (strong bursts of light energy). Lasers penetrate the skin to help the spider veins fade and disappear. These treatments work very well in combination with sclerotherapy, but in today’s day and age, I believe they are both mandatory, because lasers will not take care of the underlying “feeding” vein that actually causes the spider veins. Unfortunately, there are many different types of lasers out there, and not all of them are designed to treat veins. I always tell my patients that if a skin-based laser, or the wrong type of laser is used, this procedure can be painful, and that side effects could occur, including redness, swelling, hyper- or hypo-pigmentation of the skin, or even scarring.
4. VeinGogh (Ohmic Thermolysis)
This is the newest, most revolutionary treatment for spider veins, because it provides relatively immediate results with no bandaging or bruising, little, if any, discomfort, and no scarring. It can be done on any skin type and does not require hiding from the sun. Different from lasers, this uses a high-frequency microburst of energy delivered to the vein via a hair-thin probe. It works best on fine, tiny veins up to 0.3 mm, so it should still be combined with sclerotherapy for the larger or deeper veins, but it is great to clear up all the tiniest veins that used to be so difficult to manage. It can even treat skin tags, angiomas, and even the redness of rosacea.
5. Endovenous Treatments or Surgery
These treatments are not used for spider veins , but rather are reserved for the treatment of the larger, more severe varicose veins. Known as Laser Closure or Laser Ablation, a small catheter, or tube, is inserted into the vein through a needle, followed by a small device that produces heat (either from radio-frequency or laser energy) to seal the vein shut. Unlike the old-fashioned “vein stripping”, only local anesthesia is used, and this procedure can take place in a doctor’s office instead of a hospital. There is very little discomfort, and normal activities can be resumed within 1-2 days.
Schedule an Appointment
If you are interested in having a free consultation appointment where I can examine your spider veins and recommend the most appropriate spider vein treatment for you, please call our office at913-451-VEIN (8346).