We all have blood pumping through our veins. Inside these veins are valves that pump blood back to our heart. If these valves weaken for whatever reason, though, some of that blood hangs back and builds up inside the vein, creating pressure that leads to bulging. When veins bulge too much, they can become visible, resembling blueish-purple lightning bolts just underneath the skin known as varicose veins or spider veins, depending on their size and location.
In some cases, spider or varicose veins are merely cosmetic concerns, leading to emotional stress and reducing one’s self-esteem. Sometimes, however, these veins can become uncomfortable and lead to complications such as clotting or open sores. So, whether your spider veins are mild or severe, you probably want to get rid of them as quickly as possible. Fortunately, there are currently two effective ways to treat varicose and spider veins.
Let’s go over these treatments and discuss how you can achieve the best results after receiving them.
The two methods for treating spider veins and varicose veins are sclerotherapy and laser therapy. Each procedure has distinct advantages and potential drawbacks, so it’s important to weigh these options with your dermatologist before making a decision.
Although it was developed over a century ago, sclerotherapy is still the most common and effective varicose and spider vein removal method. Patients receive an injection of saline solution (sclerosing agent) into the spider or varicose veins, which collapses them. Over time, these collapsed veins turn into scar tissue and disappear. Patients might experience itching, swelling, and changes to skin tone afterward.
Laser therapy for spider veins is a more recent development. Powerful bursts of light are sent toward the vein, and this energy causes them to fade over time. Some patients might prefer this procedure because it isn’t invasive like sclerotherapy. That said, laser therapy is usually less effective of the two treatment options, at least when dealing with larger veins. For spider veins (which are smaller), laser therapy can be an effective alternative. Of course, there are potential side effects, such as itching, bruising, redness, swelling, and changes to skin tone.
The newest type of laser therapy for varicose veins, endovenous laser/radiofrequency ablation, is indeed invasive. During this procedure, a catheter is placed inside the vein and heated up, which seals the vein shut without affecting the nearby areas.
Each of the spider vein treatment options outlined above has been proven to remove or at least reduce the appearance of unwanted bulging veins. That said, spider veins and varicose veins can return even after successful treatment. Plus, results can take time. After sclerotherapy, you might not notice a difference for 3-6 weeks or several months, and results might take as long as a year after an invasive laser treatment. To help ensure the best results and keep spider veins at bay, there are a number of things you can do, including:
You don’t have to stand for those pesky protruding veins. If you think one of these treatments might be right for you, Premier Dermatology Partners can give you more information and advice regarding effective varicose and spider vein removal and mitigation. To learn more about our team and all the services we provide, contact us.