Spider Veins or Varicose Veins

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Spider Veins - Varicosities, Mini Varicose Veins, Scleropathy, Abnormal Leg Veins, Hemorrhoids


What is it?


Spider veins are tiny reddish purple veins often found on the back of the calves, inside of a person’s leg, on their face and on other areas of the skin. They are much smaller than varicose veins, which are dilated or enlarged veins that are dark blue or purple-like in color and look like large cords underneath the skin. Spider veins often look like small red spider webs under the skin, although they too can sometimes appear purple or bluish, or a combination of colors.


Spider veins and varicose veins usually occur because of problems with the vascular system. Usually the heart pumps oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. The arteries in the body carry nutrient rich blood from the heart to various parts of the body. Veins carry oxygen and nutrient depleted blood from other parts of the body back to the heart for a recharge.


Usually when you squeeze your leg muscles, you pump blood back from the lower part of the body back to the heart. The veins are a one-way flap that allows blood to flow to the heart without allowing it to flow backwards down the leg. Sometimes these valves loose their “muscle” strength and weaken which can cause blood to leak back into the vein and collect, and over time this may enlarge the vein, resulting in varicose veins. Spider veins can do the same thing. Other causes for spider veins may include changes in hormones or exposure to the sun or other unknown factors.


The Operation


There are many ways to treat spider veins. Many of them do not require traditional surgery. These include slceropathy, compression hosiery, laser surgery and related techniques.


  • Scleropathy - in this procedure, a surgeon can treat varicose veins and spider veins. The doctor injects a special solution into the vein that will cause the vein to swell first and then seal shut, redirecting the flow of blood into healthier veins. The vein will then become scar tissue, eventually fading into the other tissues in the leg. Usually this procedure does not require much in the way of anesthesia or pain relief.
  • Laser surgery - laser surgery allows a doctor to send bursts of laser light energy into the vein, which can cause the vein to fade and then disappear. This typically causes the damaged area to vanish with time. It does not require any needles or incisions into the body.
  • Radiofrequency and laser - this treatment method is often used for treating deeper varicose veins in the leg or the greater saphenous veins in the leg. This surgery is usually reserved for patients with problems in the deep or saphenous veins, not for spider veins usually.
  • Surgical ligation and stripping - these procedures are not for spider veins, but for patients with very deep varicose veins. Surgical ligation and stripping requires the doctor to go in and remove surface and deeper veins from the body. This requires general anesthesia.


Alternatives to Surgery


The simplest alternative to surgery is scleropathy, because it requires only an injection and wearing of compression hose. Simply wearing compression hose can also reduce the incidence or appearance of spider veins, especially among pregnant women; however they can be hot and hard to get on. Still, there are many women that swear by them, and men too, especially those that have to sit or stand for long periods of time.


These special support socks, thigh-highs and support hose provide graduated compression that helps improve circulation in the body and helps improve the performance of valves working in the surface and deep vein system. They now make compression hose in many different shapes and styles. You can even buy toeless ones so you don’t have to worry about ingrown toenails and you can wear your favorite sandal or flip flop with them for a casual look during the summer!


Before the Operation


There is not much preparation necessary for laser or sclerotherapy because you will not go under general anesthesia. If you plan to undergo the surgical ligation procedure or the endovenous radiofrequency and laser procedure you may need to avoid eating for 12 hours prior to your procedure. Your doctor will provide you with specific precautions for the day before and day of surgery.


After the Operation- In the Hospital


As this is an outpatient procedure, post procedure instructions will be given to the patient prior to their departure from the hospital or medical facility.


After the Operation- At Home


You will need someone to drive you home if you have a surgical procedure. Your doctor will require you wear compression hose of 20 to 30 grade or higher compression to help support your legs and help prevent recurrence of spider veins immediately following your procedures and for up to two weeks following your spider vein procedures. The good news is after this most patients find they can say goodbye to compression hose forever and start showing off their gorgeous gams!


Possible Complications


As with any type of cosmetic procedure all of the procedures listed carry with them some risks of varying degree. The scleropathy procedure may result in some itching, redness, irritation or swelling. Some patients may find they are sensitive to the solution used. All patients may find their symptoms recur after a year or more, although the newer procedures including the laser procedure report up to a 90% success rate or more with little recurrence in problems provided the patient eat right and maintain a healthy weight.


While spider vein treatment may not be right for everyone, it can provide a tremendous boost to self-confidence and self-expression for individuals willing to bear their legs for the first time in decades.


General Advice


Go ahead; why not show off those great legs, you know you want to! Spider veins may now become a thing of the past for the first time in decades. Patients no longer have to endure torturing vein stripping and other painful procedures to have spider veins removed. Newer procedures including scleropathy and laser vein surgery may be all that is necessary to have spider veins and surface varicose veins disappear from site in as little as 24 to 72 hours, with little to no downtime!


Estimated Costs for Spider Vein Treatment


The costs for spider vein treatments vary widely because the cost of sclerotherapy depends on how many treatment sites you need treated and whether you plan to treat one or both legs. The same is true for other procedures like laser therapy. Laser therapy may be as expensive as $5,000US per leg however scleropathy may cost just $500 to treat both legs.


Country Cost per leg
USA $100-$5000
Brazil $100-$2000
Costa Rica $100-$1500
South Africa $100-$2000
Thailand $100-$2000

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