Spider veins, also known as thread veins, are small damaged or enlarged blood vessels in the outer layer of the skin (the dermis) making them visible as tiny purple and blue lines. They often resemble a spider’s web, hence the name. Although they are often painless, they can be unsightly and over time can sometimes cause discomfort.
- Spider veins can affect anybody at any age, but the most common causes are:
- A family history of spider veins (it is a hereditary condition passed through a parent or close blood relative)
- Prolonged sun exposure
- Hormonal conditions
- Birth control pills
- Professions that require standing for long periods of time
- History of blood clots
Thanks to technological advancements, there are now a variety of vein treatments to choose from which are quick, minimally invasive, relatively painless, and require little to no recovery time after treatment. The most popular therapies available to treat spider veins are sclerotherapy, laser therapy, and compression stockings.
This treatment is used mainly for spider veins and small varicose veins. It involves injecting a small amount of sclerosing agent (made up of a saline or saltwater solution) into the affected vein; this irritates the blood vessels, which causes the lining of the vein to shrink, seal shut, and eventually dissolve – eliminating the vein completely. Blood then naturally reroutes to other healthier veins.
Sclerotherapy is a quick procedure with little to no discomfort and doesn’t require anesthetic. It is performed in the physician’s office, and you can return to work or your usual activities after the procedure.
If the treatment is carried out on the legs, your physician may recommend the use of compression stockings to encourage healthy blood flow in the area. In some instances there is a need for the treatment to be repeated to attain maximum results.
Harmony Laser Therapy
Harmony laser therapy is a safe and effective treatment used to eliminate superficial leg veins, including spider veins. The therapy uses light energy, which is pulsed onto the affected areas and is then absorbed – which ensures that there is no injury to the surrounding tissue. There is a low risk of any side effects, as no injections or chemicals are used, and the laser does not cause any damage or injury to nearby healthy tissue and skin.
Before treatment, the target area is cleansed and a gel is applied to the skin. The physician then uses the laser to deliver precise pulses of light to the target area. Hemoglobin in your blood absorbs the pulsed energy from the laser, and this energy causes the damaged vein to collapse.
The procedure can last up to an hour, but it is not painful. Patients often feel a pulsing sensation sometimes described as a rubber band being snapped to the skin. There is no discomfort or downtime after treatment, so your normal activities can be resumed right away.
Endovenous Laser Therapy
Endovenous laser therapy is used primarily for varicose veins, but in some circumstances it can be used to treat spider veins. The therapy involves inserting a thin laser fiber into the damaged vein through a small incision above the area where the symptoms are visible. The physician delivers laser energy through the fiber, causing the vein to close as the laser is gradually removed.
This in-office procedure is quick and can be performed during a typical lunch hour. There is no recovery time, and patients are encouraged to walk immediately after the procedure.
Wearing compression stockings can help to improve blood flow through the legs and can also help to prevent further spider veins and varicose veins from appearing. Compression stockings will not remove spider veins, but they can be very beneficial to your health as they reduce the likelihood of blood clots in the legs and can relieve swelling.
There are different types of compression stockings, and they vary in the level of pressure and support that they provide. Your physician can advise you on the type which best suits you.
Vein Physician in Houston
If you have unsightly spider veins or you would like to know more about the treatments we offer, The Vein Institute & MediSpa in Houston, Texas, can help. Our board-certified physician, Raymond Little, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of vein disorders.
Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the condition, but whenever possible, we use a number of advanced and minimally invasive methods to treat and improve the appearance of veins. Call us at (281) 312-0208 to request an appointment, or use our online form to request an appointment. We look forward to serving you and helping you have smoother, clearer skin.