Spider Veins

Treating spider veins

Spider veins are similar to varicose veins except they are smaller, closer to the surface of the skin and usually red or blue in color, resembling tree branches. They are often located on the legs and face and may cover a large or small area of skin. Spider veins can be caused by hormone changes, exposure to the sun and the backup of blood from weakened valves in the vein.

Cost of Spider Vein Surgery

The most popular forms of spider vein therapy today include sclerotherapy and laser spider vein removal for permanent results. Average costs for these cosmetic surgery procedures range from $300 to $500 per session. Most insurance policies will not cover spider vein surgery.

Patient Evaluation

Unlike varicose veins, spider vein treatment is only necessary for esthetic reasons since they rarely cause pain or discomfort. The ideal candidate is between 30 to 60 years of age. Pregnant or nursing mothers are advised to avoid any spider vein treatments until they've stopped breastfeeding.

Spider Vein Surgery Procedures

Sclerotherapy remains the most common treatment for spider veins, having been in use in Europe for more than 50 years. A solution is injected by the doctor directly into the spider vein, causing the vein walls to bond and close shut. Blood flow to the vein is halted, and the treated vein transitions into scar tissue that fades from view within a few weeks.

Laser surgery for spider vein removal is gaining in popularity and is highly effective. Strong bursts of light are directed into the vein causing it to fade over time. While this procedure doesn't require incisions or needles it may cause some pain and discomfort from the heat of the laser. Laser therapy isn't as effective on spider veins larger than 3 mm.

Risks of Spider Vein Surgery

There are risks involved in any form of body surgery, and spider vein treatments are no different. The risks of sclerotherapy include:

  • The formation of blood clots
  • Negative allergic reactions to the sclerosing mixture
  • Acute inflammation
  • Possible scarring
  • Pain and stinging at the injection sites

The consequences of laser spider vein removal include:

  • Skin discoloration
  • Burns or blister formation

Keep in mind that these treatments can only address currently existing spider veins, and cannot prevent new ones from forming.

Recovering from the Operation

Both sclerotherapy and laser spider vein therapy are performed on an outpatient basis. While there is some minor pain involved in both procedures, patients can generally return to regular activity within hours of the treatment.

Alternative Procedures

For those seeking viable alternatives to either of these procedures you need to get to the source by asking yourself what are spider veins and how are they caused? Standing or sitting for long periods of time and ill-fitting clothing that constricts blood flow around the waist or groin can contribute to the creation of spider veins. Make sure to get up and move if you've been sitting for more than 30 minutes, and ensure that you shift your weight periodically if standing for long durations of time.

Increased pressure to the veins due to obesity is another cause of spider veins, so losing the extra weight through diet and exercise may be the best spider vein cure. Since spider veins aren't painful, many may opt to just live with them.