Unfortunately, the term spider vein is no stranger to many, as it’s estimated that more than half of adult females and nearly half of adult men suffer from some sort of vein problem, including spider veins. Pesky and unattractive, spider veins are truly cosmetic in nature, even though they can frequently be symptomatic of deeper issues.
Spider veins appear as thread-like red, blue or purplish veins and are commonly found on calves, thighs and ankles, and often occur in clusters. They form from high pressure in the venous system, which, in turn, forces the thin-walled veins to expand. These engorged capillaries then expand to several times their normal size, causing spider veins.
Symptoms of spider veins may include:
Spider veins are associated with what are known as “feeder veins,” which are larger, underlying reticular veins, just under the skin surface. Because of this, it’s imperative to identify and treat these underlying causative veins in order to prevent the spider veins from recurring in the same location, or not resolving at all. Clusters of spider veins, especially around the ankles, can be a symptom of a deeper venous problem, so a complete venous examination is recommended. Dr. Schwartz may need to perform a venous duplex ultrasound to visualize the venous system in the problem area to determine whether any underlying vein disease exists.
Certain risk factors may make it more likely for spider veins to form. The leading cause of spider veins is hereditary or genetic, as a family history of spider veins will determine your predisposition to them. Women are three times more likely than men to struggle with abnormal leg veins. Pregnancy plays a role in the formation of both spider and varicose veins since the bodily and hormonal changes seen with pregnancy cause greater blood flow and therefore greater potential for unsightly veins. Sitting or standing for long periods of time or traumatic leg injuries can also cause vein concerns.
There are many ways to treat spider veins, but most important is to identify the cause of the spider veins, to prevent re-occurrence. Once the source is found, treatment will begin and will take on average three to five sessions spaced about four to six weeks apart to reduce your spider veins. However, some people are predisposed to having spider veins, so it is possible to develop new ones over time. One of the best ways to prevent the recurrence of spider veins, especially around the ankles, is to treat the chronic underlying vein problem contributing to the spider veins. If your spider veins are purely superficial, they may be hereditary and could recur, but any newly appeared spider veins can also receive treatment.
Spider veins are best treated with a combination of sclerotherapy injections and superficial, or topical, laser therapy for the quickest, most thorough resolution. Be cautious of any physician who claims they can get rid of your spider veins via only sclerotherapy injections or only topical laser treatments. Optimum long-term results are achieved by combining both treatment modalities. It is important to remember that spider vein treatments are a process that generally requires multiple treatment sessions over several months, and that they will likely look worse before they look better, so a degree of patience is required.* At Premier Vein and Body, we provide our vein patients with the most complete spider vein treatment available, which is all performed in the comfort and convenience of our beautiful Kansas City office.
In addition to treating spider veins, a vein specialist like Dr. Schwartz will make sure to determine whether these spider veins have an underlying cause such as venous insufficiency. Spider veins around the ankles are a warning sign to an experienced vein doctor that an underlying vein disease may exist. For other people, spider veins have no underlying cause and can be treated as superficial and largely cosmetic problems. Since most spider veins cause no symptoms and do not require treatment, insurance will usually not cover their treatment. However, it may cover the treatment of the assessments as well as any deeper venous issues that do pose health risks.
The gold standard in spider vein treatment, sclerotherapy is a relatively simple treatment that involves injecting an FDA-approved solution directly into the vein via a tiny needle. The sclerosant solution irritates the lining of the vein and causes it to collapse and seal closed. The vein is slowly reabsorbed and fades over the course of four to six weeks. Most areas will require multiple treatments to achieve full fading. Even though it does involve the use of needles, most patients experience little to no discomfort.* For larger, varicose veins not visible on the surface, Dr. Schwartz may use ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, but ultrasound guidance is not necessary for small superficial veins. Sclerotherapy combined with topical laser treatment will eliminate the appearance of most spider veins.
Superficial, or topical, laser treatments can reduce the tiniest of spider veins, particularly those too small to inject, by using thermal energy to super-heat the veins, causing them to collapse and seal shut. This transcutaneous (non-invasive) laser treatment works with almost no discomfort and has become a treatment of choice for spider veins that cannot be treated with sclerotherapy. It works through the skin to address superficial spider veins and make them disappear. Dr. Schwartz uses this treatment on spider veins after he has eliminated the possibility of venous insufficiency as an underlying cause. If you have underlying vein disease, Dr. Schwartz may recommend treating this first to prevent the recurrence of your spider veins and prevent disease progression.
Some spider veins are too small for sclerotherapy. VeinGogh can go where sclerotherapy sometimes can’t with thermocoagulation heat. VeinGogh is a more precise, controlled treatment for the smallest of spider veins, or clusters that have been incompletely treated with sclerotherapy or other treatment. This treatment option will eliminate superficial spider veins and leave skin looking clearer, with no red, blue, or purple veins visible. Treating all your spider veins may require several visits over the course of a few months.
While the exact results will vary depending on the treatment option, you can expect to see improvement in the appearance of your spider veins. Because most spider veins are harmless and cosmetic in nature, insurance will not usually cover treatment for these, although it will usually cover treatment for any underlying chronic venous insufficiency or other vein diseases. Patients can also expect the prevention of the veins from becoming varicose, therefore becoming more difficult to treat.
Spider vein treatment at Premier Vein & Body by Schwartz comes with no downtime. Patients may resume normal activities, and even return to work, immediately after treatment. The only limitation is that we do restrict vigorous physical exercise, or anything that will significantly increase your heart rate, for 24-36 hours. So if you do work-out, we ask that you do it the day before treatment, or even the morning of. Since most people tend to take a day off in between workouts, this will not affect your exercise schedule.
Spider vein treatment at Premier Vein & Body by Schwartz comes with no downtime. Patients may resume normal activities and even return to work, immediately after treatment. In fact, Dr. Schwartz will recommend daily activity to promote healthy blood flow and encourage the collapse and fading of treated spider veins. People with spider veins who feel uncomfortable with their appearance usually make good candidates for treatment, although Dr. Schwartz will determine the best course of action during your assessment.
When you choose Premier Vein & Body by Schwartz for your vein procedure, you will be working with an experienced vascular surgeon who specializes in vein disease. Dr. Schwartz is known as Kansas City’s “Original Vein Doctor” and the only triple board-certified vascular surgeon performing vein treatments in the area. Premier Vein & Body was founded in 2003 and was one of the first vein treatment centers in the Kansas City area. Dr. Schwartz is certified as an RVT (Registered Vascular Technician) and RPVI (Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation). These certifications are in venous ultrasound technology, ensuring the most thorough diagnosis and treatment of vein disease. With over 12,000 vein procedures performed, we’re confident that we can help you no matter what your vein condition might be.
*Individual Results May Vary
Read from real patients about their experiences with Dr. Schwartz and his team at Premier Vein & Body by Schwartz.
*Individual Results May Vary
Real Patients. Real Results. View before & after images of vein and cosmetic procedures in our photo gallery.