Spider and Varicose Veins
What are spider veins?
When very small blood vessels just below the skin’s surface become damaged, they can form webs of blue, purple or red veins. Spider veins are a milder type of varicose veins, are smaller than varicose veins and often look like a sunburst or "spider web." These "spider veins" rarely cause serious symptoms, but because they are near the surface of the skin, their color is visible. They are red or blue in color and are commonly found on the face and legs.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged veins that are visible through the skin and may appear as blue or purple twisted, knot-like cords. Varicose veins can occur anywhere in the body, but are more commonly found on the legs. Hemorrhoids, a type of varicose vein, can appear during pregnancy around the anus or in the vagina.
Treatment for varicose veins:
Specific treatment for varicose veins will be determined by your physician based on:
your age, overall health, and medical history
extent of the condition
your signs and symptoms
your tolerance of specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
expectations for the course of the condition
your opinion or preference
Medical treatment may not be necessary if there are no symptoms. However, varicose veins may sometimes worsen without treatment. Treatment for varicose veins involves both surgical and nonsurgical approaches.
Nonsurgical methods for treating varicose veins include:
Elevation of the legs
You may be instructed to elevate your feet above the level of your heart three or four times a day for about 15 minutes at a time. If you need to sit or stand for a long period of time, flexing (bending) your legs occasionally can help keep blood circulating. If you have mild to moderate varicose veins, elevating your legs can help reduce leg swelling and relieve other symptoms.
These elastic stockings squeeze or compress the veins and prevent blood from flowing backward. In addition, compression stockings may help with healing of skin sores and prevention of additional sores. Compression stockings are effective in treating varicose veins if worn daily and may prevent the need for more invasive treatment.
Sclerotherapy is the most common treatment for both spider and varicose veins. This procedure involves a saline or chemical solution that is injected into the varicose veins that causes them to harden so that they no longer fill with blood. Blood that would normally return to the heart through these veins returns to the heart by way of other veins. The veins that received the injection will eventually shrivel and disappear. The scar tissue is absorbed by the body.
Ablation involves the insertion of a thin, flexible tube called a catheter inserted into a varicose vein. The tip of the catheter heats the walls of the varicose vein and destroys the vein tissue. Once destroyed, the vein is no longer able to carry blood and is absorbed by your body.
The VNUS Closure procedure is a minimally invasive treatment alternative for varicose veins, with less pain and less bruising than traditional vein stripping surgery and laser treatment. Using the Closure system, physicians close the diseased veins by inserting the Closure catheter into a vein and heating the vein wall. This causes collagen in the wall to shrink and the vein to close. After the vein is sealed shut, blood then naturally reroutes to healthy veins.
The Closure procedure provides the following benefits for patients and physicians:
- Minimally invasive outpatient procedure
- Clinically proven less post-operative pain
- Excellent clinical outcomes
- Cosmetically appealing
Surgical approaches to the treatment of varicose veins include:
Preventing varicose veins:
Steps to prevent varicose veins include maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and elevating the feet while sitting. Avoid clothing that constricts your waist, groin, or legs, shoes with high heels, and crossing the legs while sitting. While these measures may help prevent varicose veins in some people, they may only slow the onset of the condition in individuals who are susceptible.
To find out if you are a candidate for treatment or for more information, please contact Pen Bay Surgery in the Pen Bay Physician's Building at 207-593-5733.
Pen Bay Surgery
Pen Bay Physicians Building
4 Glen Cove Drive, Suite 103
Rockport, ME 04856