Spider veins are small, dilated blood vessels near the surface of the skin. These superficial blood vessels can be red, blue, or even purple in color.
Spider veins most commonly occur on the legs, but they are also found on the face or other areas of the body. Depending upon lifestyle, health issues, and physical appearance, spider veins will look different on everyone.
Some patients may have small clusters of light patches, while others may have darker, more severe spidering covering an entire leg. If left untreated, spider veins can lead to large dilated blood vessels called varicose veins that are raised and rope-like, often lying closer to the skin surface.
What are the signs of varicose veins?
Varicose veins can often be seen on the skin. Some other common symptoms of varicose veins in the legs include:
- Aching pain that may get worse after sitting or standing for a long time
- Throbbing or cramping
- Rash that’s itchy or irritated
- Darkening of the skin (in severe cases)
- Restless legs
How are varicose veins diagnosed?
Dr. Salloum may diagnose your varicose veins based on a physical exam. Dr. Salloum may recommend other tests to find out the extent of the problem and to rule out other disorders.
You might have an ultrasound, which is used to see the veins’ structure, check the blood flow in your veins, and look for blood clots. This test uses sound waves to create pictures of structures in your body.
How are varicose and spider veins treated?
Sclerotherapy (SKLER-o-ther-a-pee) is the most common treatment for both spider veins and varicose veins. Dr. Salloum uses a needle to inject a liquid chemical into the vein. The chemical causes the vein walls to swell, stick together, and seal shut.
This stops the flow of blood, and the vein turns into scar tissue. In a few weeks, the vein should fade. In some cases the same vein may need to be treated more than once.
Treatments are usually done every 4 to 6 weeks. Current treatments for varicose veins and spider veins have very high success rates compared to traditional surgical treatments.