Spider veins are small blood filled vessels, resembling spider legs, brought to the surface of the skin on the legs. They appear as tiny red, blue, or purple lines easily visible through the skin.
Spider veins are superficial imperfections. They are a cosmetic concern more than a medical issue, as they are just in the skin surface and do not usually cause any symptoms.
Usually, the root cause is poor circulation and blood backup due to veins not working properly. When the blood is having a tough time traveling through the veins, the veins become a stretched out and distorted. If it occurs near the very top of the skin, they become spider veins. If it happens deeper, then it’s considered a varicose vein.
These backups can be a result of several different conditions. Sometimes, pregnancy can trigger it. Other times, injuries, a previous surgery or a broken bone can cause spider veins.
In addition, excessive sun exposure or thinning of the skin (atrophy) can cause spider veins to appear. For example, strong topical steroid creams on the skin for a very long period of time can thin the skin. This allows the small blood vessels in the skin to become visible.
A number of factors increase one’s risk in developing spider veins. These can be simple to complex, including:
Sclerotherapy: Doctors use vein sclerotherapy to treat spider veins. This procedure is also called injection therapy, and each treatment session normally lasts around thirty minutes. . During vein sclerotherapy, a fluid (chemical or salt water solution) is injected into the spider vein or varicose vein. This solution irritates and aggravates the vein wall interior and inflammation causes the vein to seal itself off. The blood which would otherwise pass through this spider vein gets redirected, into a vein that is healthy. After the vein shuts off, it will slowly degenerate and disappear.
Laser Treatments: A laser can be used to zap the spider veins from the outside. The laser heats up the blood in the vein, causing the vein walls to stick together and seal shut. This is essentially damaging the vein and then prompting the body to absorb or take it away.
At-Home Care: Since spider veins cause very little pain and are not harmful so ignoring them is not a problem, though they may increase in number over time. Patients can begin with at-home treatment by wearing tight compression socks and elevating their legs. In terms of compression stocking strength, 20-30mmhg is recommended. They are to be worn as much as tolerated, especially while standing and for at least one week following a vein treatment like sclerotherapy.