What are telangiectasias (spider veins)?
As you age, blood vessels become stretched and dilated. You may begin to notice small purple, blue or dark red vessels on your legs or face. Telangiectasias, commonly known as spider veins, can look like spider webs or tree branches. Spider veins are small, delicate dilated capillaries or venules that appear close to the skin. Spider veins are smaller than varicose veins and tend to cause no discomfort. They can develop anywhere on the body but are commonly seen on the face around the nose, cheeks, and chin and on the legs around the backs of the knees and inner thighs. Although they can cause mild aching/burning in the legs and night cramps, the main complaint of spider veins is cosmetic, as they can be unsightly and cause embarrassment. Spider veins are rarely associated with a serious medical condition.
What are the causes and risk factors for spider veins?
Progressive in nature, spider veins tend to increase in number, size and visibility with age. Risk factors include:
- Family history of vascular disease
- Fluctuations of female hormones
- Extended periods of sitting or standing
- Injury or trauma such as a sports injury
- Increasing age
- History of blood clots
- Birth control pills
- Liver disease
- Topical steroid use
- Previous vein surgery
Am I a candidate for spider vein treatment?
If you have visible vessels on your legs or face that have a weblike or branching pattern or are bothered by the cosmetic appearance of your veins, spider and varicose vein treatment is available. Rarely, patients have allergies to certain spider vein treatments, so make sure to let your physician know if you have ever had problems with vein treatments in the past. For most patients, spider vein treatment is a highly satisfactory experience.
What are my spider vein treatment options?
- Visually guided sclerotherapy – Using a fine needle, the physician injects a solution, causing the vein’s walls to seal and the vein to close. Neighboring vessels will take over the duties of the injected vein, which will fade within a few weeks.
- Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy – Spider veins that are associated with larger incompetent deeper veins often resolve with treatment of the underlying venous disease. If someone has venous insufficiency, then treating spider veins alone is often a temporary and fleeting fix. A more satisfying and durable solution is to treat underlying venous disease first and then treat spider veins once deeper venous reflux has been corrected. Ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy consists of mapping out any varicose or diseased veins, identifying where they connect to the deep venous system, isolating the varicose veins by compression, and injecting a foamed sclerosing agent into the diseased vein. The effect on cosmetically significant spider veins is sometimes dramatic. With a single injection, sometimes not only a deep vein is treated but also connected spider veins are immediately seen to blanch and begin resolving as the sclerosing agent enters them as well.
Why should I chose Premier Dermatology for my vein care treatment?
Dr. Brent Taylor is both a board certified dermatologist and certified by The American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine in phlebology. His extensive fellowship training in both dermatology and phlebology allow him to better educate his patients on all of the available treatment options for spider veins. If you are concerned about the appearance of your spider veins, contact Premier Dermatology and Mohs Surgery of Atlanta, in Alpharetta GA for a consultation and treatment.