Vascular Surgery Associates
Side Decoration

Spider Vein Facts

Spider veins (aka telangiectasias or sunburst varicosities) are small, thin veins that lie close to the surface of the skin. These thin cluster of red, blue or purple veins are connected with the larger venous system, but are not an essential part of it. Although spider veins are commonly found on the thighs, calves and ankles, they can also be found on the face. They can cover either a very small or very large area of skin.

The cause of spider veins is not completely known. It appears to run in families. Spider veins appear in both men and women, but women more frequently. Some factors that may contribute to spider veins include:

Spider veins may take on one of three basic patterns:

Patients can have pain that ranges from dull and throbbing to
a burning sensation. Discomfort may not be related to the size of the blood vessel.

Spider veins cannot always be prevented. Wearing support hose may minimize unwanted blood vessels from developing. Keeping one’s weight at a normal level and exercising regularly may be helpful. Sun protection is important to limit the number of unwanted vessels on the face.

Q: How are unwanted blood vessels on the legs treated?

A: The injection method is called sclerotherapy. This procedure has been in use since the 1930’s. A sclerosing solution, such as Asclera or Sotradecol, is injected directly into the blood vessel with a very fine needle. The solution irritates the lining of the vessel causing it to swell, stick together, and the blood to clot. Over a period of weeks, the vessel turns into scar tissue and eventually fades, becoming barely noticeable. A single blood vessel may have to be injected more than once, usually weeks to months apart, depending upon its size. A number of vessels may be injected at any treatment session. After several treatments, most patients can expect an 80-90% improvement. Fading of the vessels occurs gradually, over a period of months.

Q: Is there any pain with the procedure?

A: The injection uses a fine needle that causes a barely noticeable pinprick feeling. Some people experience a slight to moderate burning feeling immediately after the injection, but this disappears after a few seconds.

Q: What do I do after the procedure?

A: To improve the blood circulation in the deep veins, it is essential to walk after the treatment. A compression stocking is worn to reduce the risk of bruising and swelling or other complications. This may help seal the treated vessels, keep the blood from collecting under the skin, and reduce the development of dark spots. It may also reduce the number of treatments necessary, and the possibility of recurrence.

Regular exercise, weight control and the use of support stockings (if practical) are recommended between treatments and after treatments.

Q: Are there any side effects?

A: There are some possible side effects. They include:

Q: Will treated veins recur?

A: Large veins may recur even after surgical procedures. Spider veins may also recur. It may seem that a previously injected vessel has recurred when in fact, a new spider vein has appeared in the same area.


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