Learn more about treatment options for spider veins
Spider veins are formed by the dilation of a small group of blood vessels located close to the surface of the skin. Although they can appear anywhere on the body, spider veins are most commonly found on the face and legs. They usually pose no health hazard but may produce a dull aching in the legs after prolonged standing and indicate more severe venous disease.
What you should know about spider veins
The exact cause of spider veins is unknown, although heredity, pregnancy, trauma, aging, sun damage and hormonal influences are believed to be primary factors contributing to the condition. More than 40 percent of women have some form of varicose vein condition including spider veins, with an increasing incidence of venous disease as one gets older, so that up to 80 percent of women have some form of venous disease by age 80. Slightly more women than men have varicose and spider veins.
Do's and don'ts
Listen to your body. Both spider and varicose veins tend to be a cosmetic concern; however, they can lead to serious health complications such as fatigue, night cramps, leg swelling or itching around certain veins. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, an ASDS dermatologist should be contacted for further assistance.Keep active. Activities such as walking, cycling and swimming all help to keep up blood circulation in the legs and will reduce pressure and blood pooling.Maintain a healthy weight. Reducing body weight will eliminate excess pressure on the legs that causes veins to surface.Wear compression stockings. Properly fitted graduated support hose ensures that pressure is properly distributed on legs so that blood is directed toward the heart. Be careful, however, not to restrict blood circulation.
Sit or stand for long periods of time. Being in one position for an extended period of time can place pressure on veins. Change positions every 30 minutes to increase blood flow. Flex calf muscles frequently to keep up circulation while sitting at a desk or during long car or plane trips.Assume all treatments will work. Speak to an ASDS dermatologist about a variety of treatment options available, such as lasers or injections. Depending on the severity of vein damage, experts can determine the best treatment option for you.Subject legs to excessive heat. The heat associated with long hot baths and hot tubs will actually increase vein swelling and lead to blood pooling.Fall for bogus advertisements. While tempting, such treatments may not be legitimate. It's best to consult with an ASDS dermatologist to explore treatment options.Wear overly restrictive clothing. Clothing around specific body parts - including waist, legs and the groin area - can restrict circulation and lead to spider and varicose veins.
Spider veins treatment questions to ask a dermatologic surgeon
(Download a Spider Veins Questionnaire to bring to your appointment)
- Which spider veins procedure is the correct one for me? (What are the options?)
- What is the estimated cost of the procedure?
- How long is one appointment?
- How often will I need to receive treatment to treat my spider veins?
- How far apart are the treatments?
- What are the common side effects or complications associated with the procedure?
- How can I prepare for the treatment/procedure?
- Does the treatment hurt?
- What are my pain management and anesthesia options?
- Do you have before-and-after patient images to help prepare me for what to expect?
- Will someone walk me through the process before going in for treatment?
- What are the risks?
- What should I expect after the procedure is performed? (i.e. short-term and long-term effects; activity restrictions; expected recovery period)
General questions to ask before spider veins procedures
- Is a doctor on site?
- Is the doctor board-certified in dermatology or another specialty with equivalent training and experience?
- Was my medical history taken?
- Was I given an initial evaluation to determine if the technique or procedure is appropriate for my skin type?
- Did the doctor show me before-and-after photos?