Spider and varicose veins are a very common concern. Visible leg veins affects approximately 80% of the adult population, whereas varicose veins affect more than 50% of the adult population over age 50. Risk factors for the formation of varicose leg veins include genetics, female gender, pregnancy, age, occupations that involve prolonged standing, and obesity.
Spider veins (tiny pink, red or purple vessels) on the lower extremities are best treated with sclerotherapy, an essentially painless procedure whereby a sclerosant is injected into the unwanted vessel causing it to collapse so then the body can resorb it. Compression stockings should be worn for between 72 hours and 2 weeks depending on the size and extent of the vessels treated. Multiple treatments are typically required, but this treatment is very effective.
Varicose veins are dilated veins that are often bluish-green or flesh colored, torturous in appearance and palpable beneath the skin’s surface. Oftentimes, varicose veins are the result of an underlying leakage. When valves within a vein cease to function properly, blood is permitted to reflux or flow in the opposite direction than it is intended to flow. Reflux leads to pressure buildup within the vein, causing the vein to distend further. When present, this condition is often associated with symptoms such as aching, burning, fatigue, itching, cramps, restless legs and swelling. These symptoms are typically aggravated by warmth and inactivity. If you have varicose veins or symptoms suggestive of underlying venous disease, a noninvasive imaging test (duplex ultrasound) can be performed to delineate the extent of the disease. You may be a candidate for endovenous laser ablation (which uses thermal energy to close the damaged vein from the inside out) or sclerotherapy injections performed under ultrasound guidance. These procedures are minimally invasive and light exercise can be resumed immediately after.
Sometimes a combination of the above treatments with one of our other vascular lasers may be used to achieve optimal results.