Spider veins

Blue or red-colored small veins start showing on the legs, called spider veins. Such veins usually don’t cause pain or irritation, and people may desire to get them treated for cosmetic reasons. There are rare cases where spider veins are painful. There are a variety of treatment options for the removal or reduction of the appearance of spider veins. Treatments may also help prevent blood clot formation in the happing of a surgical procedure in the future, such as a hip replacement. In this article, we will discuss what spider veins are, the causes of spider veins, symptoms, risk factors, and treatment. 

Causes: 

When vein valves become weak and stop working correctly, it causes poor blood flow. When blood does not flow in the right direction, it may start pooling inside the vein, which eventually causes rapture of the vein. A bulge may develop in the vein and spread over time, resulting in spider veins. Due to the frequent rupture of small blood vessels, spider veins may develop on the face. These may occur as a result of UV deterioration or high blood pressure. Blood pressure gets affected because sometimes these veins take the blood back to the heart. Spider veins can cause clotting. 

Symptoms

Some patients may have the following symptoms: 

 

  • Discolored skin
  • Throbbing 
  • Aching
  • Cramping
  • Itching
  • Recurrent skin
  • Infections 
  • Bleeding
  • Ulcers 

Treatment

Most cases of spider and varicose veins can be treated with the following procedures.

  • Sclerotherapy

 

The most effective method for treating spider or varicose veins is sclerotherapy, a non-invasive and painless procedure. In this medical procedure, a solution is injected into the damaged vein. By shutting the vein’s end and preventing blood from collecting inside or outside the blood vessel, the treatment causes blood to clot in the blood vessel. Before recommending this course of treatment, the doctor will examine the patient’s medical history. Pregnant women are not recommended for this procedure. However, a doctor will assess your condition and medical history to decide if it’s good for you or not. Additionally, not all vein types, particularly those connected to the heart, can be treated with sclerotherapy. 

This surgery may be completed in your doctor’s office, doesn’t involve significant cuts, and has a quick recovery time. After the procedure, people will begin to recover in a few days, but they may require rest for a limited weeks before returning to daily work. Smaller veins are treated using laser and micro-electric therapies. In these techniques, the laser light or electric current heat causes the vein to disappear close to the skin’s surface. 

  • Phlebotomy

Phlebotomy is a minimally invasive procedure that effectively removes spider veins. A small cut is made in the skin just above the vein during phlebotomy, after which the vein is taken out and removed. Blood is also drawn out of veins using this method.

  • Venous Ablation

Deeper varicose veins can be treated with venous ablation. In this procedure, a vein is accessed through a tiny cut using a flexible tube known as a catheter. A little tube called a catheter is inserted into the vein using radio waves or laser light. The vein shrinks and disappears as a result of the heat. The procedure does not require a surgical incision and can be conducted in an office-based environment. There is no bruising or scarring due to the minor incision. Ablation is more efficient, has minimal risk factors, and is a relatively safe method. After the procedure, there is little chance of infection.

  • Vein Stripping

Rarely may your doctor suggest a more invasive surgery like vein stripping, often done in a hospital and may require a more extended recovery period. Usually, the skin over the injured vein is cut twice or three times. The vein is dragged out through the bottom cut after being tied off.

 

Potential Risks:

Discuss with your healthcare physician the benefits and risks of the operation; to determine which varicose vein therapy might be the most effective for you. Although there is always a chance of infection, it rarely happens because of the doctor’s meticulous attention. Second, a vein may expand for a few days due to the surgery, which may be hurtful or discolored. When a patient has an allergy to antibiotics, this also causes risk factors. Thirdly, if a blood clot in this vein is not well managed, it could spread to any other organ and harm it.

The surgery may also result in bruising, blood vessels or nerve harm, or other severe problems. Some patients may experience leg pain and tenderness for days following the treatment, which prevents them from engaging in strenuous activities. After the surgery, the patient can feel weak and exhausted for a few days, but these symptoms will go away independently. You might need to see a doctor if the discomfort doesn’t go away in a week or two. The doctor will adequately inspect the wound and offer appropriate advice. It would be best if you weren’t concerned about wounds and redness because they are common side effects of surgery. A doctor will take precautions to lessen your risk of experiencing these side effects. After the operation, carefully follow the doctor’s instructions.

Risk Factors:

Your risk of having spider veins increase if you have the following conditions and habits:

  • Tobacco use
  • Excessive use of alcohol 
  • Women are more susceptible to spider veins. 
  • Age also affects your health in several ways. With age, veins become weak, and the chances of having spider veins increase. 
  • Overweight
  • Spider veins and varicose veins can be genetic disorders. If you have a family history of having spider veins, you need to take extra prevention to avoid developing the spider veins in the future. Prevention would be using sunscreen, avoiding excessive use of alcohol and tobacco, and staying healthy. 
  • Other veins illnesses that aren’t caused explicitly by genes.
  • Infections in valves
  • Pregnancy can also cause spider veins because during pregnancy mother has extra weight on her legs, and blood is supposed to flow more than usual which can result in venous rupture. 
  • Hormonal changes can also cause spider veins. During menopause, pregnancy, etc., hormones change, which can cause several other health issues. 

References:

  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324276#risk-factors
  • https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/cosmetic-procedures-spider-veins
  • https://www.aad.org/public/cosmetic/younger-looking/how-dermatologists-treat-leg-veins

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