Spider veins, also medically termed sunburst varicosities and telangiectasias, are purple, blue, or red veins that appear below the skin’s surface more visibly than other veins. These unsightly veins often branch out from a medial location which is how their name was derived. Spider veins can also be present as single or multiple lines in different formations under the skin. Spider veins may appear anywhere on the body, but are most often occur on the feet, ankles, legs, and face.
Doctors and scientists are unsure as to why people develop spider veins, although irregular blood flow is a known contributing factor. Certain physical conditions strain the veins of the legs and facilitate the formation of spider veins. Genetics, age, injury, weight gain, pregnancy, hormones, and jobs that require people to stand or sit for many hours at a time also stress veins, increasing one’s likelihood of developing spider veins. Spider veins occurring on the face may be caused by extensive UV damage.
Spider veins are often thought to be solely a cosmetic issue, but there are negative side effects associated with this common condition. The veins cause buring, steady aching, and swelling of the area as well as nighttime cramps that plague nearly half of the population due to this condition.
Spider Vein Removal of the Body – Sclerotherapy
Most spider veins are eliminated from the body through a process called sclerotherapy, which can be performed by a trained plastic surgeon such as Dr. Gentile. During this procedure, a solution is injected into the vein with the aid of a bright light and magnification system. The solution irrirates the treated vein and causes it to swell considerably until it closes, eventually becoming scar tissue. The collapsed veins cannot be seen underneath the skin. This procedure is not only effective in eliminating spider veins from the body, it is also safe, only mildly invasive, and treats the physical symptoms caused by spider veins as well.
In most cases, at least two sclerotherapy treatments are necessary to lighten the veins, but they may not disappear altogether and it is possible for more spider veins to form in the future. Candidates should understand the procedure as well as the potential extent of treatment results. Dr. Gentile will discuss this with patients during their first consultation with him.
Sclerotherapy treatments are safe for women and men of all ages to undergo, although most patients are middle aged and older. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to wait until they have finished breastfeeding to undergo treatments, as most pregnancy related spider veins will fade in time, and sclerosing solutions can enter breast milk.
Spider Vein Removal of the Face – Laser Treatment
Facial spider veins must generally be treated with a different cosmetic method due to their small size, as the needle required for sclerotherapy proves ineffective in entering the vein. Laser removal treatments are effective in ridding both the face and body of spider veins. The laser emits a direct beam into the problem vein causing it to permanently disappear underneath the skin. Although some external laser treatments are not a viable option for all skin types and tones, laser removal treatments for spider veins do not discriminate against either factor.
During the fifteen to twenty minute laser removal treatment for spider veins, heat from the laser can irrititate the skin, but there are various cooling methods to prevent and soothe the sensation. A typical spider vein requires two to five laser treatments for complete removal, though most patients notice fading after just one treatment.
Subsequent to a laser treatment, patients are free to return to their daily business, though the skin may be flushed and swollen. Bruising can appear locally due to the precision of the laser, but dark discolorations generally disappears within a few weeks. Skin discoloration is also temporary, and rarely reported past one or two months following laser a procedure. Laser treatments are higher in cost than sclerotherapy, but can successfully elimiate by laser what injections cannot. Laser therapy is a good removal option for spider veins under three millimeters in size.
Dr. Gentile can explain the benefits, risks, and possible outcomes of laser treatments for spider veins during a patient-surgeon consultation at his office.