Spider veins can be aesthetically unpleasing, but they don’t pose any serious danger to your health. They can easily be removed with sclerotherapy, but does this method require repeat treatments?
At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine in Ramsey, New Jersey, our board-certified vein specialist will assess your vein condition, prescribe appropriate treatment for your spider veins, and advise you on how to avoid repeat visits.
How spider veins are formed
Capillaries are the smallest visible veins in your body. Blood flows only one way through them, through a series of tiny valves. These prevent blood from going backwards through the vein in the intervals between your heartbeats.
If a valve starts to fail, blood does slip back through it and pool behind it. This causes spider veins, which appear as squiggly lines of red or purple visible through the skin. Most people get spider veins on their lower legs, where pressure is strongest because of the distance from the heart and gravity.
Spider veins vs varicose veins
Spider veins alone aren’t dangerous, but they can be a sign that your vein health isn’t what it should be. The real danger lies when larger veins are compromised. Varicose veins may itch, burn, cause swelling, aching, or pain in your legs, or leave your legs feeling heavy and restless.
Since these veins are larger, the blood pools in greater amounts and the pressure is greater. Varicose veins look like twisted ropes bulging up from the surface of your skin. If a blood clot forms behind a compromised valve, then breaks free, it can travel to your lungs, causing a serious or even fatal event known as a pulmonary embolism.
Treating for spider veins
We use sclerotherapy to treat spider veins. With a very tiny needle, so small you can barely feel it, we inject a "sclerosing" substance into the spider vein. The agent causes microdamage to the walls of the vein, causing it to collapse and seal shut.
The blood flow that would normally run through that capillary is automatically directed to another nearby healthy vein, and your body naturally flushes out the remnants of the damaged vein over a period of a few weeks.
Once a spider vein is dealt with using sclerotherapy, you won’t need a repeat treatment for that vein again, as it will be destroyed completely. However, if your circulation and overall vein health is poor, more spider veins can appear.
If this happens, we can repeat the sclerotherapy to deal with the new spider veins and start developing a plan to improve your vein health. This might include adjusting your blood pressure, losing weight, making sure you eat healthy, stopping smoking, and moving around regularly during the day, especially if you work a sit-down job.
Is it time to get rid of your spider veins? Contact our office at 201-962-9199, or request a consultation online today.