EEK! Halloween is just around the corner but are you getting a fright when you look down at your legs? Are you battling a different kind of arachnophobia? Today we tackle a spooky subject: spider veins.
What are spider veins?
Spider veins are small unsightly veins on upper and lower legs. Spider veins are strictly a cosmetic problem and can occur due to pregnancy, trauma, surgery, normal aging or they can be genetic.
Varicose versus spider veins
People always ask if they are varicose veins or spider veins. There is an easy way to tell. If it looks like you took a ball point pen or a sharpie and drew all over your legs and if they are flat and not raised, then they are probably not varicose. Varicose veins are also sometimes painful and tender whereas spider veins are usually not.
What causes spider veins?
Again, in many cases we have genetics to thank. Spider veins are not due to crossing your legs but they are worse in people whose professions require prolonged standing such as nurses, teachers, sales associates, etc.
Do I need to call an exterminator?
There are two choices for treating spider veins; laser or injections. A laser uses external heat to injure the veins and cause inflammation. When the veins start the healing process, they begin to shrink. The laser treatment can be painful and has a risk for burns. Laser treatment is also more expensive.
The injection treatment is called Sclerotherapy. The procedure uses very salty water, hyper tonic saline, or other agents to cause a chemical irritation to the veins as opposed to the heat irritation caused by the laser. The healing process causes the veins to shrink and scar over time. At Advanced Life Clinic, we prefer to treat spider veins with injections due to better cosmetic outcome and as a more affordable option for the patient.
How does it work?
The veins themselves are actually translucent. What gives them color, and their spidery appearance, is the blood in the veins. Once they have shriveled up and the blood can no longer get through them, then they become invisible. The treatments will not interfere with blood flow or circulation as the body has plenty of extra veins to take up the slack. The treatment cannot lead to blood clots. The procedure is very safe and takes around 30 minutes in the comfort of our office. More than one treatment may be needed. In that case, we space the treatments out by six weeks to allow for healing time inside the veins.
After the treatment
Patients must wear compression hose for three days after the injections and normal daily activities can be resumed after the treatment.
What does it cost?
Injections cost around $250 per treatment as opposed to $500-750 per treatment with the laser.
If you’re tired of giving yourself a fright and are ready to say “boo” to spider veins, please call us to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. We are always happy to answer any questions.
Dr. DeGraaff and the staff at Advanced Life Clinic