Varicose veins and spider veins may be unsightly, but they can affect more than just your appearance. For some, these vein issues can cause significant discomfort. Varicose veins can also put you at risk of blood clots or open sores on your lower legs.
Dr. Moeinolmolki (Dr. Moein) of Healthy Life Bariatrics in Los Angeles offers a minimally invasive treatment for ridding your legs of these unsightly veins. The treatment can also reverse symptoms such as leg pain and fatigue that often accompany varicose and spider veins. Having the treatment performed by a talented aesthetic surgeon like Dr. Moein can even prevent future leg vein complications.
Why Do These Leg Veins Become Visible?
Varicose veins and spider veins both represent veins that have become damaged. They form when one-way valves inside the veins become weak. In a healthy vein, the valves push blood in a single direction, which eventually flows back to our heart. When the valves become weak, some blood is able to flow in reverse, causing it to build up inside the vein. The extra blood forces the walls of the vein to expand. This allows the varicose or spider veins to become visible just below the skin.
Are You at Risk of Developing Varicose or Spider Veins?
If vein problems run in your family, you may be at higher risk of developing varicose or spider veins. Some people get them because they sit or stand for long periods of time, while others may find they form as a symptom of age, obesity, or pregnancy.
Spider veins are unique in that they can be caused by excessive amounts of sunlight, injury, or hormonal changes inside the body.
Do You Suffer from Vein Problems?
Vein problems can cause a wide range of uncomfortable symptoms and side effects. Examples include a heavy sensation in your lower limbs, broken veins that are visible on the legs, difficulty sleeping due to throbbing or tingling legs, itching, burning, or restless leg syndrome. While the veins are typically found on the legs, some people may even experience varicose veins and swelling of the stomach, or even on the face.
What is the Difference Between Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins tend to emerge and become visible just under the skin's surface. Eventually, the veins bulge enough to cause pain. Even if no pain is present and you merely dislike the appearance of your veins, both conditions – varicose and spider – are best considered as medical problems that should be addressed as soon as possible.
Spider veins (telangiectasia) are mainly cosmetic and can be taken care of without issue by your cosmetic body contouring surgeon. Spider veins mimic the webs of arachnids and tend to take on the appearance of lattice-like patches of dilated veins that appear just below the skin's surface.
It can be caused by pregnancy, obesity, hormonal changes, genetics, sun exposure, aging, and standing or sitting for extended periods of time.Spider veins are typically harmless, though they can make you feel uncomfortable wearing leg-bearing clothing, especially if you have fair skin.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are characterized by swollen, rope-like veins that can be found on the legs, feet, and ankles. They tend to be dark blue or purple in appearance, especially if your skin is on the lighter side.
Much like spider veins, pregnancy or obesity can increase your risk of developing varicose veins, though the condition can also run in your family. Varicose veins can also occur as a condition of advanced age. Standing or sitting for long periods of time can lead to this condition, as well.
Varicose veins on their own rarely cause serious medical complications. The veins can certainly appear unsightly. They will leave you feeling self-conscious about the way you look, but varicose vein treatment can help.
What Are Spider Veins?
Spider veins are characterized by veins that appear close to the surface of the skin, usually on the legs, ankles, and occasionally on the face. There may be clusters of veins that appear like a net and they can be any shade of red, purple, or blue, which contrast greatly with the skin.
Sclerotherapy for Spider Veins and Varicose Veins
For both types of vein problems, there is a non-surgical treatment known as sclerotherapy, which involves injecting a specialized chemical solution directly into the affected veins through a tiny plastic tube. The chemical used causes the damaged veins to become irritated and swell, which blocks blood flow to the vein. Over time, the veins will transform into scar tissue before disappearing entirely.
The sclerotherapy treatment usually takes less than an hour to complete. It begins with you lying down on the treatment table. Your surgeon will usually employ a light, local anesthetic. Your surgeon will ensure that your legs are slightly elevated before inserting a tiny catheter into one of the damaged veins. The catheter will be guided to the treatment site with the help of an HD ultrasound. When the injections are complete, you may be fitted with compression stockings that can help prevent blood from returning to the treated veins. If you have vein issues over a wider area, you may need several treatments to achieve the intended results.
You can expect to return to your normal routine within a day of your sclerotherapy treatment. The final results will be seen three weeks to three months after the treatment, whereby the veins should completely disappear.
Laser Treatments for Leg Vein Issues
Dr. Moein can also use lasers to treat varicose and spider veins. The light of the laser is directed precisely at the vein, which destroys the structure of the vein entirely without affecting the surrounding skin.
This treatment shows results immediately. In fact, some small spider veins could disappear completely with a single appointment. Larger spider veins and varicose veins may become darker with laser treatment, whereby they will usually disappear between one and three months after treatment. If the veins are large and darker in color, you may require a few more treatments before the veins disappear altogether.
After the laser treatment, you can go right back to work or otherwise continue your normal activities. You may need to wear compression stockings for a short time. You will also be advised to protect the treated area from the sun for three to four weeks. This helps to prevent dark spots from forming.
Are You a Good Candidate for Spider Vein Treatment?
To be considered for spider vein therapy, you should be in good physical condition with spider veins visible on the legs or face.
Those with blood disorders or a history of blood clots may not be recommended for surgery. You will also be denied spider vein treatment if you are pregnant, have difficulties healing, or suffer from an ailment, such as heart disease.
Understanding and Treating Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are twisted, bulging veins that typically appear swollen and raised above the surface of the skin, usually taking on a reddish-blue or purple color. Varicose veins most often occur in the legs and ankles due to the pressure of body weight, but they can develop elsewhere as well. If you notice rope-like veins protruding under the skin, it likely signifies varicose veins or venous insufficiency. This post covers all the basics - from causes, symptoms, diagnosis to medication, procedures, surgery and preventive strategies for varicose veins.
What Triggers Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins form when small valves inside the veins stop functioning properly, allowing blood to flow backward and pool inside the veins rather than returning efficiently to the heart . Several factors predispose individuals to varicose veins:
Family History Genetics play a key role as weaknesses in vein walls or valve anomalies get inherited and exacerbate risk for varicosities later in life . Having family members with varicose veins should prompt earlier assessment.
Gender and Hormones Women demonstrate much higher prevalence of varicose veins compared to men, implicating sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone that relax vein walls, and also pregnancy which elevates intravascular pressure from increased blood volume .
Age Vein valve leaflets can deteriorate over time leading to leakage and impaired venous return . As populations age worldwide, varicose veins continue increasing with peak prevalence after age 50.
Obesity and Weight Excess weight places heightened pressure on leg veins and abdominal weight strains the inferior vena cava. Losing weight helps prevent varicose veins or stops further progression .
Occupation Any occupations requiring extensive standing like retail, healthcare, assembly lines, or services risk developing varicose veins from static downward pooling of blood that disengaged calf muscle pumps .
Recognizing Varicose Vein Symptoms
The following represent common indicators of varicose veins :
Visible rope-like purplish swollen veins bulging under the skin
Heavy or tired, achy legs frequently after long shifts standing
Muscle cramping or burning discomfort around swollen veins
Worsened pain after sitting or standing for long periods without moving
Itching skin over surface distended veins
Swelling around ankles and calves
Diagnosing Varicose Veins
To accurately identify varicose veins, providers visually inspect the legs while patients stand to reveal distended rope-like vessels. Imaging tests clarify affected vessels, venous insufficiency and direction of blood flow:
Duplex Ultrasound High-frequency sound waves coupled with Doppler detection enrich visualization of anatomy, valve closure, venous flow direction, and any reflux .
Venography Injecting contrast dye into leg veins through catheters allows X-ray imaging detailing overall venous anatomy and abnormalities .
CT or MRI Venography
Cross-sectional CT scans and magnetic resonance venography render precise 3D reconstructions of the vasculature identifying problem regions .
Always seek a thorough medical evaluation when noticing new leg vein enlargement or associated discomfort to elucidate underlying drivers.
Risks and Complications
Beyond unpleasant aesthetics and mobility discomfort, varicose veins signify heightened concerns:
Thrombophlebitis Inflammation within damaged veins causes acute swelling, tenderness and reddening from developing blood clots .
Bleeding from Ruptured Veins
Severely distended varicose veins occasionally spontaneously rupture causing sudden bleeding warranting prompt compression and surgical repair .
Leg Ulcers Poor venous circulation deprives lower leg tissues of oxygenated nutrients and waste clearing fostering chronic hard-to-heal leg ulcerations .
Deep Vein Thrombosis Varicose veins increase the odds of developing larger proximal deep vein thrombosis blocking major channels .
Treatment Options for Varicose Veins
A range of manageable solutions for varicose veins spans from compression garments to sclerotherapy injections, vascular ablation techniques, and selective surgeries as a last resort.
Conservative Lifestyle Adjustments
Prescribed compression stockings delivering graded pressure up the legs can help reduce swelling and improve comfort when standing for long hours . Losing excess weight also takes off the strain. Exercise engaging the calf muscle pump prevents pooling blood while avoiding constrictive garments promotes venous and lymphatic return .
Sclerotherapy involves injecting an irritant chemical like sodium tetradecyl sulfate into damaged veins triggering local inflammatory scarring that seals dysfunctional vessels shut so blood gets shunted back into deeper outflow tracts . Multiple treatment sessions may be needed for satisfactory results.
Catheter ablation utilizing laser or radiofrequency heat also termed VNUS Closure seals faulty vein walls prompting restored directional flow. Only local anesthetic is necessary and adverse events remain rare allowing many patients swift recovery .
Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy
For larger varicose veins not effectively treated by simple liquid injections, mixing air into specially formulated foams allows displacement of much greater vein volume driving successful closure rates above 80% after uniform contact with interior vessel walls .
When sizable obviously ropy varicose veins remain despite chemical or thermal ablation, segmented surgical extraction can eliminate stubborn clusters (a procedure termed ‘stab avulsion’ or ambulatory phlebectomy) which only requires local anesthetic without overnight hospitalization .
Vein Ligation and Stripping
This last resort surgical control for severe cases with no other recourse involves fully removing the entire saphenous main drainage vein stem tied off at the top and stripped out from an incision below completely diverting return blood to healthier channels .
Laser and Radiation Treatment
Surface varicose veins are too small for other options and sometimes undergo local laser or radiation bombardment destroying them although skin irritation often results requiring extensive wound care .
What is Healing and Recovery Like for Spider Vein Treatment?
Your cosmetic surgeon will give you explicit instructions for healing following your surgery. Adhere to these instructions to mitigate any issues you may experience. In the days and weeks following surgery, you may be required to wear a pair of compression stockings. These support socks are designed to enhance the flow of blood to and from the treatment area. Keeping the lower legs compressed also prevents discoloration which can sometimes appear after the area is healed.
Tell your surgeon if you experience redness or swelling with treatment, though these issues will typically resolve on their own after a few days or weeks.
Leg Varicose Vein Treatment by Spider Vein Surgeon
Dr. Moein has treated many patients who have had trouble with leg veins in the past. Today, these satisfied patients remain leg-vein-free thanks to Dr. Moein's revolutionary treatments. If dark veins are getting you down and preventing you from wearing certain clothing, or if they are causing you pain, remedy those veins today. Contact Dr. Moein at Healthy Life Bariatrics for effective and near-painless varicose or spider vein treatment.