Do you have a branching pattern of purple or red veins on your legs, thighs or face? These visible, dilated blood vessels are commonly called “spider veins”. While spider veins do not pose a health threat, many people who have them find them unsightly and often attempt to conceal them with clothing or cosmetics. In the Spring and Summer months, this can mean avoiding shorts and bathing suits out of embarrassment.
WHAT IS A SPIDER VEIN?
Spider veins (not to be confused with varicose veins) are common, most often affecting women. Small, purple or red veins that have a branching pattern become visible through the skin and are commonly found on the thigh, lower leg and occasionally on the face. Spider veins are progressive in nature and usually increase in number and visibility with age.
The tendency to develop spider veins is often inherited, especially those on the upper thighs. Pregnancy and prolonged standing or sitting, which increase pressure in the veins of the legs, seem to play a role in developing spider veins. Hormones, especially estrogen, also appear to be involved.
Although no one has discovered one clear cut method to prevent the onset of these veins, some authorities believe that the use of support hose, weight control and excercise may be beneficial.
WHEN SHOULD TREATMENT BE CONSIDERED?
- There are visible veins on your legs or thighs that have a branching or weblike pattern
- You regularly try to conceal veins on your face
- You would feel more confident if you eliminate or minimize the appearance of your spider veins
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR SPIDER VEINS?
Sclerotherapy, IPL and laser vein treatments are used to treat these vessels, essentially erasing them from your skin. These treatments are time-proven procedures that cause little to no discomfort.
Sclerotherapy: A simple treatment called sclerotherapy can be used to correct unwanted spider veins of the legs. The procedure is appropriate for medium sized veins-greater than 3 millimeters- and involves injecting a small amount of concentrated salt solution into the vein. Sclerotherapy generally takes between 3 to 6 treatments, with each treatment scheduled six weeks apart, to achieve the desired results.
*If you’re pregnant, breast-feeding, have had a history of blood clot formation, or have certain heart conditions, sclerotherapy may not be a procedure suitable for you. A consultation with one of the medical providers at the Asarch Center will help you determine if it is.
Laser Treatment and IPL:
Laser Treatment or Intense Pulsed Light Treatment (IPL) is typically used to treat facial blood vessels which are small to medium in size-one to three millimeters in diameter.
At the Asarch Center, we utilize IPL treatment for small spider veins. This procedure destroys capillaries and excess blood that has leaked into the skin tissue. Since the pulses of light are controlled and precise, we can treat spider veins successfully without affecting surrounding tissue. With IPL, the pulses of light emit heat that selectively damages or destroys abnormal veins. Eventually, the treated veins are absorbed by the body and are no longer visible.
WHY INTENSE PULSED LIGHT?
IPL treatment is the preferred option for treating veins that are slightly deeper in the skin. The results of IPL treatment can last for a year or longer. The number of treatments each individual patient will need depends on the size and quantity of visible veins. Typically, a total of 2 to 4 treatments will deliver optimal results.